Bosnia: Wife urges Algerian Guantanamo inmates' release after US judge's ruling

Sarajevo, 21 Nov. (AKI) - Bosnian politicians and media had no comment on Friday on the decision of an American court to free five of six members of the so called “Algerian group”, suspected of terrorism activities. The suspects have been held in the US military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But the wife of one Algerian, Nadja Dizdarevic, said they were arrested illegally and should be freed immediately.

US District Judge Richard Leon said the US Government had failed to prove the prisoners had planned to go to Afghanistan to fight US troops.

Leon ordered the US government to take all necessary and diplomatic steps to facilitate the release of the five "forthwith," said media reports.

The six Algerians were arrested in Bosnia shortly after the 11 September attacks against the US in 2001.

They were sent to Guantanamo in 2002 and have been detained there without ever being charged. Many have complained of abuses.

After their detention in 2002, US President George W. Bush said the Algerians had been plotting a bomb attack against the US embassy in Sarajevo.

The Algerians were allegedly among thousands of mujahadeen who came to Bosnia from Muslim countries to fight on the side of local Muslims.

Many remained in the country after the war, married local women and acquired Bosnian citizenship.

But US authorities could continue to detain a sixth man, Belkacem Bensayah, in the detention centre in Cuba, Judge Leon ruled.

The US government had established he was "more likely than not" planning to go to Afghanistan, said Leon.

Dizdarevic, who had fought a legal battle for years to free the Algerians, told media “Bosnian authorities should now fulfil their obligation and officially demand their liberation”.

She said the group was arrested “illegally and without any evidence”.

Dizdarevic said if Bosnian authorities did not act immediately, she would turn to the human rights court in Strasbourg on Monday to demand the release of the five acquitted members of the group.

Following western intelligence report that some former mujahadeen were involved in terrorist activities in Bosnia and kept close ties to Al-Qaeda, Bosnian authorities have reviewed thousands of citizenships granted to foreigners during the war and about 400 of them have allegedly been revoked.

Bosnian Authorities are planning to deport those people whose citizenships have been denied or revoked, back to their home countries.

However, their families in Bosnia have been fighting a legal battle to let them stay, arguing that their lives would be in jeopardy if they are expelled.


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