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DOD official says some Guantanamo detainees may be imprisoned for life

[JURIST] More than 300 prisoners now held by the US at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] could remain there under US military detention for the rest of their lives, DOD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Detainee Affairs Charles "Cully" Stimson [profile] told Reuters during a routine visit to the base last week. Of the 435 prisoners currently held at the US military base in Cuba, some have been given permission by the Pentagon to return home [JURIST report], but the US claims the release process has been slowed by the refusal of other nations to accept Guantanamo prisoners [Washington Post report; JURIST report]. Reuters has more. Only ten detainees have so far been charged with offenses, although a top State Department official said earlier this month that up to 80 could be charged and tried [JURIST report] under the new US military commissions process.

At the same time, some countries appear to have dealt with former US detainees differently than US authorities might prefer. Last week, US officials learned of the release of 29 former Guantanamo Bay prisoners by the Saudi government to allow the suspects to take part in Ramadan. They were released temporarily, with instructions to return to jail by the end of October, but US officials worry the men will join up with extremist groups, rather than return voluntarily to detainment. The Baltimore Sun has more.

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