News

Leading Terrorist Detainees Transferred to Guantanamo

The U.S. government has transferred 14 alleged terrorist leaders to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the first new arrivals at the controversial facility in two years.  The men are some of the most highly valued detainees captured in the global war on terrorism.

The detainees who arrived at Guantanamo on Monday include famous terrorist leaders like alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, his alleged fellow-plotter Ramzi Bin Al-Shibh and two infamous members of Indonesia's Jamaah Islamiya known as Hambali and Zubair.  There are also lesser-known operatives who were allegedly involved in forgery, financing, communications and other duties for al-Qaida and Jamaah Islamiya.

The two organizations are responsible for attacks around the world, including the strike on the USS Cole in Yemen and a series of attacks in Indonesia.

The men have been captured in several locations at various times in recent years, and President Bush said Wednesday they had been held at secret prisons run by  the Central Intelligence Agency.  According to the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, they hail from 10 countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and range in age from about 25 to 42, among those for whom ages were provided.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman says their interrogations may continue at Guantanamo, but only under new rules issued Wednesday that protect all U.S. military detainees from abuse.

"They will be available for questioning, as are other detainees in DoD [Department of Defense] custody at Guantanamo," said Mr. Whitman.  "It could include questioning by other agencies.  Any questioning that's conducted will be done using the current army field manual on interrogations and required by law through the Detainee Treatment Act."

Whitman would not say where the men were held before or which part of Guantanamo's facility will be their new home. 

The newest buildings at the detention center are modern prisons with small private cells that keep the detainees separated from each other unless they are allowed to be together during exercise periods in a fenced area outside.  Those buildings are for non-cooperative and high-value detainees.  The 455 men held at Guantanamo are generally allowed to earn their way to more comfortable communal living quarters through good behavior and cooperation with interrogators.

Whitman said Wednesday that the Guantanamo detainees continue to be important in providing information about terrorist networks, even though many of them have been held for several years.  He found the timing of Monday's transfers noteworthy.

"I think as we approach the five-year anniversary here, it's only appropriate that some of these most vicious individuals are facing justice at Guantanamo," he added.

Whitman says that like all detainees at Guantanamo, the new arrivals will be provided with materials for practicing their religion, and will have access to mail, health care, reading materials and exercise.  He says they will also be available to be visited by representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), who routinely visit the base and have access to all its detainees.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs