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US transfers Guantanamo Bay detainee to German custody

[JURIST] The US Defense Department said Thursday that Murat Kurnaz [AI case sheet; chronology, PDF], a Turkish citizen who is also a legal resident of Germany, has been transferred [press release] from Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] into German custody. Kurnaz's release, which was expected [JURIST report], comes at the recommendation of a Guantanamo Administrative Review Board [DOD materials]. The panel recommended last year that Kurnaz be released, but the actual release was delayed while US and German negotiators worked out the conditions of his release, including assurances from German authorities that Kurnaz would be treated humanely and that steps would be taken to ensure that Kurnaz "does not pose a threat to the international community, Germany or the United States."

Kurnaz was arrested in Pakistan in 2001 and transferred to Guantanamo Bay in 2002. His lawyers say that Kurnaz was not involved in terrorism and that the US government's evidence against him is "tangential" and "preposterous." Last year, Kurnaz claimed [JURIST report] that he had been subjected to torture, physical abuse and sexual humiliation by US interrogators. AFP has more.

4:34 PM ET - Kurnaz's lawyer said Friday that Kurnaz was blindfolded and in chains during the trip to Germany, saying he was "humiliated and dishonored to the very end by the Americans." The lawyer also repeated allegations that Kurnaz had been tortured while held at Guantanamo Bay. Reuters has more.

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