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French Court Convicts 5 Former Guantanamo Inmates of Terror Links


A French court has convicted five former inmates at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, of terror-related charges and sentenced them to prison terms of one year. A sixth defendant was acquitted.

The court, which reached the verdicts Wednesday in Paris, gave the defendants credit for time served while awaiting trial. Authorities said none will have to serve further time in detention.

The suspects were detained in or near Afghanistan in 2001 by U.S.-led coalition forces, and later they were transferred to Guantanamo. They were returned to France in 2004 and 2005, after negotiations between Paris and Washington.

The verdicts were originally expected in 2006. But the court said it needed more time to examine new information showing that French intelligence agents interrogated the suspects during their Guantanamo stay. Defense lawyers said the interrogations violated international law.

Information about the interrogations did not surface until the trial had begun, when the Liberation newspaper published a document about them.

In a separate development, three British-linked Guantanamo detainees were released Wednesday and were due to arrive by charter plane in Britain this evening.

Police have not said whether they will detain the suspects or release them once in Britain.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.


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