Have Fun With That, France! :)
WASHINGTON — Algerian detainee Saber Lahmar was transferred from the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to French territory, his lawyer said late Monday.
Lahmar, 39, is the last of five Algerians arrested in Bosnia in late 2001 to be transferred from Guantanamo since a US judge's ordered their release in November 2008 due to insufficient evidence.
Lahmar's attorney Robert Kirsh said that his client's departure from Guantanamo will allow him "to rebuild his life as a free man after nearly eight years of illegal detention."
"Mr Lahmar suffered years of inhumane, isolating imprisonment. He was separated from other human contact until one month after Judge (Richard) Leon ruled that the detention of Mr Lahmar was illegal," Kirsh told AFP.
Kirsh praised French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner as "straight shooters throughout this process."
"We appreciate the opportunities they have given to Saber Lahmar and Lakhdar Boumediene," he said.
Boumediene, one of the five Algerians arrested in Bosnia, was transferred to France and released on May 15.
Hours after the announcement the French foreign ministry issued a statement.
"In deciding to welcome to its soil a second former detainee France is contributing, as are other European and non-European states, to the implementation of the decision of President (Barack) Obama ... to close the Guantanamo detention center," the French foreign ministry said early Tuesday.
"After seven years of incarceration in Guantanamo, Mr Lahmar can finally begin to live a normal life again," it said, adding steps would be taken to help his integration into French society.
The US Justice Department also announced that the United States has transferred two Tunisians held at its Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba to Italy.
Earlier Monday Tunisian nationals Abel Ben Mabrouk bin Hamida Boughanmi and Mohammed Tahir Riyadh Nasseri "were transferred to the government of Italy. Both detainees are the subject of outstanding arrest warrants in Italy and will be prosecuted there," the Justice Department said.
"The United States is grateful to the government of Italy for helping achieve President Obama's directive to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility," it added.
The two, according to prosecutors, were also part of a group that provided logistical support to a militant cell recruiting suicide attackers for operations in countries including Afghanistan.
Obama vowed during his first week in office in January this year that he would close Guantanamo within a year, saying that the prison camp does not adhere to US standards of human and civil rights.
However in a November 18 interview Obama acknowledged that he will not meet the self-imposed January 22, 2010 deadline.
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