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Lawyers: US to release 3 Gitmo detainees to Bosnia

•  Recent Cases     updated  2008/12/15 10:22


The U.S. is preparing to send three Guantanamo prisoners to Bosnia in the first detainee transfer ordered by a federal judge, attorneys for the men said Tuesday.

A judge in Washington ruled last month that the government's case was not strong enough to continue holding the men. The order came in the first hearing on the Bush administration's evidence for keeping prisoners at the U.S. Navy base in eastern Cuba as "enemy combatants."

"These will be the first three men who will be sent home by an order from a federal judge, and that is a vindication for our legal system," said Rob Kirsch, an attorney for the men. He said U.S. and Bosnian officials have told the prisoners' lawyers about the upcoming transfer.

Military officials declined to comment. The Pentagon typically does not discuss detainee transfers until they are completed, citing security concerns.

The three prisoners are Algerians who immigrated to Bosnia before they were detained in 2001 on suspicion of plotting to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo. They have been held at Guantanamo since January 2002.

In his order last month, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon said the government's evidence linking five Algerians to al-Qaida was not credible as it came from a single, unidentified source. He urged the Justice Department not to appeal because it could delay the men's release.




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