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[casi] US- no records of 'prisoners'

Is this possible?  We don't know who is being imprisoned, or where in the
world the men were originally from. For all we know, Hussein or bin Laden
could be in Guantanamo.  Can no one do anything for these men?   pg

US says it has no records of detainees: Guantanamo prison

uploaded 13 Aug 2003

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 12:  The US government said on Monday it had neither an
exact count nor all the names of hundreds of people captured in Afghanistan
over a year ago and now detained at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba.

Government lawyers made the disclosure during a court hearing in a case on
behalf of Falen Gherebi, a Libyan national believed to be in US custody in

In May, a US district court said it did not have the authority to consider
whether Gherebi was being held lawfully and remanded the matter to an
appeals court.

At the appeals court hearing on Monday, the planned debate over the
government's right to hold Gherebi dissolved into a more basic discussion
over whether the US government even had kept complete records on the people
being held.

"They won't let him out and they also won't tell us if he's there," said
Stephen Yagman, a lawyer for Falen Gherebi's brother, Belaid Gherebi, a San
Diego resident, who has sued to get his brother legal representation. "This
is crazy. This is just nuts."

Yagman complained that the government had stonewalled such requests on
behalf of Mr Gherebi and other detainees by maintaining ignorance as to who
exactly it had in custody.

A panel of appeals court judges hearing the case on Monday expressed shock
about the apparent lack of record keeping on a group of hundreds of people,
possibly including some children, who have been in custody for 577 days.

"It strikes me as astonishing that the government says they have no idea
whether this gentleman is or is not being held," one said. "Don't you even
keep records?"

Government lawyers responded that while they had attempted to keep records,
they were incomplete because some of those who were arrested had not
cooperated with authorities. They said that translating the names from
Arabic to English had created further problems with spelling.

After scanning a list for names similar to that of Falen Gherebi, the
lawyers said: "We think we have him but we're not sure. We can't confirm it
100 percent."

The US government, which maintains the people being held are all dangerous
individuals with connections to terrorists, has argued that the court does
not have jurisdiction to rule on the legal rights of these people, since
they are being held on foreign soil, in Cuba, on land that is only leased to
the United States.

Source:  Reuters

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