[News] US frees Guantanamo boys

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Tue Feb 3 08:59:18 EST 2004

US frees Guantanamo boys

Monday 02 February 2004 1:02 PM GMT

Three teenagers released from Guantanamo prison camp have been reunited 
with their families after spending more than two years in captivity.

The three "enemy combatants" are aged between 13 and 15 years old and were 
the youngest of the 660 suspected Taliban and al-Qaida members being held 
without charge at the US naval base on Cuba.

Never tried or officially charged, the boys' detention had drawn severe 
criticism from human rights groups before they were handed over to the 
International Committee of the Red Cross last Thursday.

The Red Cross also organised transport to Afghanistan for the teenagers so 
they could rejoin their families the first time the boys will have seen 
their parents since the end of 2001.

They were captured in Afghanistan by the US military on suspicion of 
supporting the Taliban who were toppled in 2001 for harbouring Usama bin 
Ladin and his al-Qaida network.

'Allowed to play'

"They were in good form," General Baba Khan, Kabul's police chief, told 

"I saw them. They said they were kept in separate cells from the elderly 
inmates and were allowed to play and have fun."

The US has told Afghan authorities not to release the boys' names "for fear 
of reprisals against them".

The American military has already freed more than two dozen Afghans from 
Guantanamo. Many have complained about ill treatment during their detention.

More than 650 captives remain at the prison camp in Guantanamo with no 
access to lawyers, nor with dates either for trial or release.


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