Guantanamo detainee relatives speak of fears

10th March 2004, Comments 0 comments

WASHINGTON, March 9 (AFP) - Three relatives of French, British and German detainees in Guantanamo expressed their distress Tuesday over not receiving news of their loved ones in months while voicing hope US public opinion would be more sensitive to their plight.

WASHINGTON, March 9 (AFP) - Three relatives of French, British and German detainees in Guantanamo expressed their distress Tuesday over not receiving news of their loved ones in months while voicing hope US public opinion would be more sensitive to their plight.

Aymane Sassi, brother of Nizar Sassi, 24, who was arrested in the fall of 2001 in Pakistan, came from the the town of Venissieux, near the French city of Lyon, to express hopes the situation would be resolved.

"I hope that eventually he will be repatriated to France where he will stand trial, if that is necessary," he told AFP.

In September 2001, his brother had been expected to return to France after a vacation in Pakistan "where he went to study Arabic and strengthen his faith." The family, however, had no news about him until January 2002.

"We have learned from media reports that he was detained," said Sassi. "The Red Cross brought us a letter, and the French Foreign Ministry confirmed this to us one and a half months later."

The family has not received any letters from Nizar Sassi since September. Azmat Begg, father of British detainee Moazzam Begg, one of four Britons who remain in detention at Guantanamo while five others were transferred to British authorities earlier Tuesday, said he also had no news of his son.

"Most of his letters were blacked out, some passages you couldn't read," Begg complained. "He probably got the same thing with our letters. In seven months, we have received no letters," said the retired banker, who lives outside Birmingham, England, urging US authorities to at least let him see his son.

© AFP

                                                              Subject: France news

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