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50% of Gitmo detainees not accused of hostile acts

AlJazeera.com | February 9 2006

A report released Tuesday by lawyers representing two detainees held at the U.S. detention camp in GUANTANAMO Bay, Cuba stated that at least 55% of those BUSH’s admin holds at the facility have not been accused of committing hostile acts against the U.S. or any of its allies.

The report, compiled by the two lawyers, is based on declassified Defense Department evaluations of the more than 500 suspects held at GUANTANAMO jail.

"The government has detained these individuals for more than four years, without a trial or judicial hearing, and has had unfettered access to each detainee for that time," said the report, written by lawyers who represent two of the detainees. The lawyers - Mark Denbeaux, a law professor at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, and Joshua Denbeaux - were assisted by Seton Hall law students.

According to the report, only 8% of the suspects are listed as fighters for a “terrorist group”, 30% considered members of “a terrorist group” and rest are just "associated with terrorists".

The findings are part of the Combatant Status Review Tribunals conducted during 2004 to determine whether detainees are being correctly held as enemy combatants.

Up till now, only 10 of the GUANTANAMO detainee have been formally charged with crimes.

But 55 percent of the detainees are informally accused of committing a hostile act, stated the report, which also mentioned that only one-third of the suspects are being accused of having ties to OSAMA BIN LADEN’s AL QAEDA network; 22 percent to the Taliban; 28 percent to both; and 7 percent to either one or the other, but not specified.

The Associated Press news agency has filed a lawsuit calling for the release of the classified versions of the documents.

Washington has been facing mounting international criticism over the number of suspects it holds and the conditions at its prisons in GUANTANAMO BAY, AFGHANISTAN, Iraq and elsewhere in the world. The U.S., moreover, came under increasing scrutiny after media reports revealed it was holding an unknown number of suspects in secret locations overseas, refusing either to acknowledge the detentions or to give information on the fate or the whereabouts of those detainees.

The BUSH’s admin's unspoken logic regarding enemy combatants appears to be: Better to ruin the lives of 10 innocents than to let one who might be a "terrorist" stay free.

"These are people picked up off the battlefield in Afghanistan. They weren't wearing uniforms ... but they were there to kill." — U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH, June 20, 2005

"These detainees are dangerous enemy combatants....They were picked up on the battlefield, fighting American forces, trying to kill American forces." —White House press secretary Scott McClellan, June 21, 2005.

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