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French Court Overturns Terror Suspects' Convictions


A French appeals court has overturned the convictions of five former inmates of the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who had been re-arrested in France on terrorism-related charges.

The Paris court ruled Tuesday that French intelligence officials improperly questioned the men during their stay at Guantanamo. In particular, the appeals court said the French counterintelligence agency (DST) could not simultaneously gather intelligence and conduct a criminal investigation of the suspects' activities.

In 2007, a French court convicted the men on charges of criminal association with a terrorist enterprise. However, the five had served reduced prison sentences and were already free before Tuesday's ruling.

A sixth defendant had been acquitted.

U.S.-led coalition forces initially detained the men in or near Afghanistan, in 2001. Authorities later transferred them to Guantanamo where they spent at least two years in custody. Officials returned them to France beginning in 2004, following negotiations between Paris and Washington.

Meanwhile, a British resident who was imprisoned at Guantanamo in 2004 is enjoying his first full day of freedom after being flown back to London Monday.


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

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