Friday, January 28, 2005

One Australian Released

After three years and four months in custody, Mamdouh Habib was released from Guantánamo and returned to Australia today. Habib trained at al Qaeda bases prior to 9/11, but he appears to have provided no useful information to interrogators in spite of a trip from Guantánamo to Egypt for the purpose of torture.

The United States never charged Habib with a crime. According to this story by Raymond Bonner in tomorrow's New York Times, the Australian government began to press for Habib's release when it became clear that the United States had no intention of charging him with a crime. (Australians apparently think it's wrong to keep a suspect in prison without ever filing charges.)

There are 545 detainees remaining in Guantánamo (including one other Australian citizen). Sixty-two other Guantánamo detainees have been released into the custody of their governments with the largest group of those (29) going to Pakistan. Another 146 detainees were directly released from Guantánamo according to the Department of Defense.