Three Algerian-born prisoners have returned, on Tuesday 12/16/2008, to their adopted homeland of Bosnia in the first release under court order from the USA prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba (see – Gitmo 11.20.08).

The three were among five Algerians ordered to be released last month by a USA judge who ruled that the administration of George Bush, the US president, had failed to support its claim that they planned to travel to Afghanistan to fight US forces there in 2001 (see also – BOSNIA 08 Plot ).

Mustafa Ait Idir, Mohamed Nechla and Hadj Boudella landed in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and were taken into protective custody in an armored vehicle. Bosnia’s state investigation and protection agency said it would question them, check their identity and release them.

Boudella’s three children were visibly upset as the vehicle drove off with their father, while his wife, Nadja Dizdarevic, assured them he would be home soon.

It was unclear when Lakhdar Boumediene and Saber Lahmar, the other two Algerian men ordered released by the US court, might be released.

Boumediene was stripped of his Bosnian citizenship in 2006 and Lahmar never held Bosnian citizenship, although he is married to a Bosnian woman and has two Bosnian children.

They were among six men picked up by Bosnian authorities in 10/2001, in Extraordinary Rendition operation, and sent three months later to Guantanamo, where they were held for nearly seven years as “unlawful enemy combatants” without being charged with a crime. President Bush claimed in 2002 that they had been planning a bomb attack on the US embassy in Sarajevo.

But justice department lawyers dropped those accusations when the case went to court, arguing instead that the men had planned to go to Afghanistan to fight against US forces.

He ordered five of the men released “forthwith” but ruled that there was enough evidence to continue holding the sixth man, Bensayah Belkacem.


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