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Two Sudanese return from Guantanamo after five years


December 13, 2007 (KHARTOUM) — Two Sudanese released from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay after nearly five years returned home Thursday, complaining of their treatment and expressing fears over the health of a fellow Sudanese prisoner - a journalist for Al-Jazeera TV - who is on hunger strike.

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Former Guantanamo detainees from Sudan Adel Hassan Hamad (R) and Salim Mahmoud Mohamed pose for a photograph upon their arrival in Khartoum, December 13, 2007, after their release from an American military facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. (Reuters)

Salim Mahmoud Adam, 49, and Adel Hassan Hamad, 49, were seized in 2002 from their homes in Peshawar, Pakistan, by Pakistani troops and were eventually taken to Guantanamo.

Hamad had been working for an Islamic charity organization managing a hospital in Afghanistan and distributing medicines. Adam was a school organizer for a separate charity group.

Hamad said the conditions at Guantanamo were "very bad," but did not elaborate. He accused U.S. authorities there of mistreating prisoners who stage protests or hunger strikes.

"Hunger strikes and protests result in mistreatment" he told journalists at a press conference alongside Adam in Khartoum, hours after their return early in the morning.

Hamad said the condition of Sami al-Hajj, a Sudanese cameraman for Al-Jazeera who has been on hunger strike in Guantanamo for nearly a year, was "very bad indeed." Al-Hajj suffers from back and knee problems and kidney ailments, he said.

Earlier this month, al-Hajj’s lawyers said he had kidney problems and may have cancer, warning that his physical and mental health have deteriorated. Al-Hajj, 38, has been in Guantanamo since June 2002.

Adam and Hamad were released Wednesday along with a group of 13 Afghans. The U.S. has now transferred about 485 prisoners to their native countries, where most have been subsequently released.

There are now about 290 men held at Guantanamo, most of them without charge. Seven Sudanese, including al-Hajj, are still in detention there.

U.S. authorities have said they plan to prosecute about 80 in military tribunals at the Navy base in southeast Cuba. Military officials have said they are in negotiations with countries to accept dozens of prisoners who have been cleared for transfer by review panels.


Below, a link to the story of one of the two released Sudanese, Adel Hassan Hamad, a hospital worker, whose captivity at Guantanamo spawned a cyberspace campaign and support from television’s West Wing president. The Portland, Ore., public defender’s office turned the case of Adel, 49, into a global cause célèbre by posting what they called the first-ever video habeas corpus petition on YouTube, the Internet video site.


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