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11/23/06

Ex-Guantanamo prisoner says he was sold to the Americans

Brussels, Nov 22, IRNA-A German resident of Turkish origin who was held illegally in the notorious Guantanamo prison for several years told the European Parliament in Brussels Wednesday that Pakistani police sold him to the Americans.

Murat Kurnaz said he travelled to Pakistan in late 2001 to "find himself and deepen his faith", when he was arrested by the Pakistani police "They caught me and sold me to the Americans for 3000 or 5000 dollars," he said.

Kurnaz was transferred to a prison in Afghanistan and later flown to Guantanamo, where he remained until August this year when he was released without charge.

Kurnaz is the first person to have been held in Guantanamo to give evidence directly to the EP's temporary committee investigating allegations of illegal CIA activity in Europe.

His lawyer, Bernhard Docke, said there was no evidence to justify his detention - apparently on suspicion of having sought to fight for the Taliban - and that no official explanations have been given for his release last August, either from the American or the German side.

He added that the German authorities had failed to help for years, on the grounds that, although born and raised in Germany, he was a citizen of Turkey.

Kurnaz said he is convinced of some degree of cooperation between Germany and the USA prior to his detention: "Information was passed on. The Americans knew many details of my life in Germany".

The Turkish authorities also visited Kurnaz in Guantanamo but failed to give him any assistance. "They said during the interview they could not do anything for me, it was up to the Americans to release me or not. They said they were there just to ask questions".

Asked by MEPs about the situation of other prisoners in Guantanamo Kurnaz said he had met prisoners captured in Bosnia, Africa and Pakistan. Some of them were EU residents - one person from Britain had been taken prisoner in Africa during a business trip.

"The media reports that Guantanamo prisoners are combatants taken from the battle field were not true. Many of us were picked up by police when sleeping and sold to the Americans," he said.

He also met one Danish and two Belgian nationals.

... Payvand News - 11/23/06 ... --



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