Tue, Mar 09, 2004 - Page 16 News List

Relatives of detainees at Guantanamo tell of fear, anger

Families are in the US to put a face to what they say is the unlawful detention of suspected terrorists in Cuba


But critics say that many, if not most, of the Guantanamo detainees are guilty of little beyond the bad luck to have been caught up in the chaotic aftermath of war. Most were captured in Pakistan or Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban government.

But even as the government moves toward military tribunals, it has released more than 80 detainees to other countries.

Kurnaz said that the German authorities telephoned her in December, 2001, with the news that her son was a prisoner of the Americans. In one letter sent to her through the International Committee of the Red Cross, Murat wrote, "Don't worry, I am fine and I didn't do anything wrong." Although he was gradually becoming more religious than his parents, Kurnaz said, he had no interest in politics or in any extreme form of Islam.

Begg, a retired banker from Birmingham, said he did not know what his son might have done in Afghanistan or in Pakistan, but insisted that he should face a British court, not a military tribunal.

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