Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Guantanamo cell is better than freedom, says inmate fighting against release
Sean O’Neill
An inmate of Guantanamo Bay who spends 22 hours each day in an isolation cell is fighting for the right to stay in the notorious internment camp.
Ahmed Belbacha fears that he will be tortured or killed if the United States goes ahead with plans to return him to his native Algeria.
The Times has learnt that Mr Belbacha, who lived in Britain for three years, has filed an emergency motion at the US Court of Appeals in Washington DC asking for his transfer out of Guantanamo to be halted. He was cleared for release from Camp Delta in February and his lawyers believe that his return to Algerian custody is imminent.
Mr Belbacha says that if he returns to Algeria, he faces the threat of torture by security services and murder by Islamist terrorists.
Zachary Katznelson, senior counsel with the human rights lawyers Reprieve and Mr Belbacha’s lawyer, has asked the US courts to block any transfer. “Ahmed is being held in camp six, the harshest part of Guantanamo,” he said. “His cell is all steel, there are no windows, he is not allowed to communicate with other prisoners and he gets just two hours exercise each day in a metal cage.
The men who wait
2002 The detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, opened
750 men have been held there
360 remain
7 Britons were freed in 2004-05
7 British residents are still there
95% Proportion of Guantanamo detainees who posed at least a “potential threat”
Sources: Amnesty International, US Dept of Defence, Times archive, Reprieve


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