27 July 2004
BRUSSELS – Two Belgians held prisoner at the Guantanamo US army base in Cuba could soon be on their way home, the Belgian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
According to the Belga news agency, the ministry believes the two un-named men could be released soon.
The news follows the release on Tuesday of four French prisoners who had been held at the Guantanamo base for over two years.
Although the identities of the two Belgian detainees have never been revealed it is known that they took Belgian nationality in 1985 and 1996.
The two Belgians are among 600 prisoners from about 40 different countries currently being held in Guantanamo.
Nearly all were captured in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002.
Human rights groups have severely criticised conditions at Guantanamo and the treatment of prisoners there.
Belgium is among several European countries who are lobbying the Americans to transfer their citizens out of the camp.
In February, the only Spanish citizen at Guantanamo was returned home.
He was freed earlier this month from custody in Spain after a court ruled he had been detained illegally.
In March, four Britons were released from the camp.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news