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Bush On Al- Qaida Detainees


President George W. Bush says that the remaining fourteen high-profile terrorist suspects held in secret Central Intelligence Agency facilities have been transferred to the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba to be brought to justice for their crimes. There are no additional detainees in CIA facilities.

Among the fourteen are leading members of the al-Qaida terrorist network – including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin al-Shibh - whom have been linked to the September 11th, 2001, attacks on the United States. The questioning of these and other terrorist suspects, said Mr. Bush, helped prevent terrorist attacks in the United States and elsewhere:

"The information we get from these detainees is corroborated by intelligence. . . .that we've received from other sources, and together this intelligence has helped us connect the dots and stop attacks before they occur. Information from the terrorists questioned in this program helped unravel plots and terrorist cells in Europe and in other places. It's helped our allies protect their people from deadly enemies. This program has been, and remains, one of the most vital tools in our war against the terrorists. It is invaluable to America and to our allies."

The fourteen terrorist suspects transferred to the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo will receive the same standard of treatment as all other detainees at Guantanamo. This includes, at a minimum, protections under a provision of the Geneva Conventions referred to as "Common Article Three." That provision states that persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including those in detention, should be treated humanely.

President Bush says that the International Committee of the Red Cross will be allowed to meet with them:

"While at Guantanamo, they will have access to the same food, clothing, medical care, and opportunities for worship as other detainees. . . .And they will continue to be treated with the humanity that they denied others."

President Bush has asked the U.S. Congress to approve legislation that would allow the United States to prosecute unlawful combatants, including detainees held at Guantanamo, for war crimes in military tribunals. Those prosecuted would be given access to defense attorneys. Many of those who are not prosecuted, said Mr. Bush, will be sent back to their home countries if those countries provide adequate assurances that the individuals will neither be mistreated nor permitted to return to the battlefield.

Mr. Bush requested the assistance of other countries in this process so that eventually the Guantanamo detention facility will be closed.

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.

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