Egypt has 30 citizens in Guantanamo

Friday, November 7, 2003

CAIRO Egypt has learned that 30 of its nationals have been detained and interrogated in a U.S. naval facility for Al Qaida insurgents.

Egyptian government sources said the Bush administration provided the data to Cairo after more than a year of Egyptian requests regarding information on detainees at Camp Delta in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The sources said the Egyptians were captured in the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 and suspected of fighting for Al Qaida and the then-ruling Taliban movement.

The United States has allowed the International Committee for the Red Cross to visit the Egyptian detainees, Middle East Newsline reported. The sources said Washington has ignored Egyptian requests to provide additional information on its nationals or consider their release.

"We have raised this issue in virtually every forum," an Egyptian official said. "We simply sought to know about our citizens in Guantanamo. Unfortunately, our requests were consistently ignored."

Last month, a U.S. interpreter and Egyptian national was arrested and charged with possessing classified information on Camp Delta detainees. The interpreter was said to have visited Egypt and has an uncle who is a senior officer in military intelligence. Egypt has denied planting spies in Guantanamo.

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