Wed, May 17, 2006 - Page 7 News List

Details of all `terror' suspects at Gitmo released by the US


After years of secrecy, the Pentagon has disclosed the names, ages and home countries of everyone held at the isolated Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in southeastern Cuba as a suspect in the US-led war on terror.

The US says it has held 759 males, ranging from teenagers to older than 70, from more than 40 countries, according to the list released late on Monday in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

The list includes some 200 previously undisclosed names. They are of former Guantanamo detainees who were moved out before the military began hearings in the summer of 2004 to determine whether detainees were properly classified as "enemy combatants" who should be held at the base.

TEN charged

While the list includes the ten detainees who have been charged with crimes, it doesn't include the most notorious US prisoners, like alleged Sept. 11 plotters Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh -- whose whereabouts are secret.

"There's still much more in darkness," said Priti Patel, a lawyer with New York-based Human Rights First who has monitored legal proceedings at Guantanamo.

Lawyers and other advocates will be able to use the new list to track who has been held at the base and find former detainees to help investigate allegations of abuse, Patel said.

The Pentagon released the list while denying access to other information about the detainees, who were mostly held on suspicion of links to al-Qaeda or the Taliban following the US-led invasion of Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The handover marks the first time that everyone who has been held by the Defense Department at Guantanamo Bay has been identified, said Navy Lieutenant Commander Chito Peppler, a Pentagon spokesman.

The names of all detainees held at Guantanamo Bay were previously kept classified because of "the security operation as well as the intelligence operation that takes place down there," said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.

The new list, when compared to the one from April, shows the Pentagon released many Afghans who were swept up early in the war. More than 90 were transferred out of Guantanamo between January 2002 and the summer of 2004.

Deflecting criticism

Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, believes US officials are trying to deflect international criticism of Guan-tanamo Bay by gradually moving out detainees.

"They are trying to slowly let the air out of the tires as a way to make the problem go away," Romero said.

The list released Monday also does not specify what has happened to former Guantanamo Bay detainees.

The fate of some is documented. All British nationals held at Guantanamo Bay, for example, were transferred back to Britain. But what has become of dozens of other detainees was not known.

The US military says about 480 detainees are now at Guantanamo Bay. About 275 have been released or transferred.

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