Expatica news

Belgians return from Guantanamo

26 April 2005

BRUSSELS — Two Belgian citizens who were detained by the American authorities in Guantanamo Bay have returned to face the Belgian justice system.

The two men, of Turkish and Moroccan origin, were repatriated on Monday onboard a Belgian airforce plane, according to the office of Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt.

They had been detained in Guantanamo on suspicion of having links to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and to the al-Qaeda terrorist network.

The Belgian authorities are currently deciding whether to detain the men or let them go free.

The first suspect, Turkish Mesut Sen, comes from Brussels and was arrested in Pakistan in December 2001.

The second is Moussa Zemmouri, a Dutch speaker of Moroccan descent, who was naturalised in Belgium in 1996. He was captured in Kandahar in the south of Afghanistan.

Both men have dual nationality.

The suspects were detained in Guantanamo along with over 500 other men who were mainly captured by the Americans in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002.

Their release was negotiated by Belgian Justice and Interior Ministers Laurette Onkelinx and Patrick Dewael.

It comes shortly after the Americans announced they would repatriate 38 detainees held in Guantanamo. Last week, 17 Afghans and Turks were released from the camp and sent back to their home countries.

According to the Pentagon, 520 prisoners are still being held at the base in the south of Cuba.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news