Navy Secretary to Lead Reviews in Guantanamo; Release Weighed for Prisoners

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 18, 2004 | Go to article overview

Navy Secretary to Lead Reviews in Guantanamo; Release Weighed for Prisoners


Byline: Bill Gertz, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Navy Secretary Gordon England has been picked to head a review process that will determine whether to release prisoners detained at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, defense officials said.

Mr. England will be the senior civilian in charge of the U.S. military's annual reviews for the approximately 600 terrorist suspects who have been captured in Afghanistan, said officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

"We've refined the procedures, and they will soon be published as regulations," one senior official said. "The Navy secretary will be the responsible official for managing the long-term detention review."

A formal announcement of Mr. England's appointment was expected earlier this week but was delayed because further work was needed on the final review procedures, the official said.

U.S. intelligence officials have said some of the Guantanamo detainees are Islamists who belonged to al Qaeda and the Taliban movement that was ousted by U.S. and Afghan forces in December 2001. The prisoners have been interrogated in an effort to gain intelligence on al Qaeda and other terrorists.

The nonjudicial review process will allow the prisoners held at the Guantanamo base to present appeals to a panel of three military officers. Each prisoner will be given U.S. military assistance in preparing to present his case before the panel.

U.S. government intelligence, security and law enforcement agencies then will be given a chance to appeal to the panel on whether to continue holding the prisoner, based on the need to seek additional intelligence or the risk that releasing the prisoner could lead to further terrorist or paramilitary attacks. …

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