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Gitmo inmate's release is imminent, British say

LONDON — A Guantanamo Bay inmate who claims he was tortured while in U.S. custody will be released today and returned to Britain, his lawyer said Sunday.

Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian citizen and former British resident, has been kept at the military prison camp in Cuba even though terrorism charges against him were dropped in October.

His release had been widely anticipated after President Obama took office pledging to close Guantanamo and to return as many detainees as possible to their home countries. Britain's foreign secretary, David Miliband, has been lobbying for Mohamed's return to Britain since 2007.

Human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, Mohamed's civilian lawyer, said he was "confident it will happen" today.

Military lawyer Lt. Col. Yvonne Bradley said she had no confirmation of when her client was due to return to Britain.

Mohamed, 30, who moved to Britain as a refugee when he was 15, was arrested in Pakistan on a visa violation and turned over to U.S. authorities, according to the rights group Reprieve, which Stafford Smith directs.

Mohamed alleges he was beaten in Pakistan and tortured in Morocco and Afghanistan before being moved to the U.S. facility in Cuba in September 2004. Washington refuses to say where Mohamed was before he was taken to Guantanamo.

Although Britain's Foreign Office released a statement Friday saying Mohamed would be returned to the U.K. "as soon as the practical arrangements can be made," it has repeatedly declined to say exactly when he is expected back.

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman, said that "as a matter of long-standing policy, we do not discuss detainee transfers and releases until they are completed."

Gitmo inmate's release is imminent, British say 02/22/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 4:48pm]
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