[JURIST] Sixteen Afghan men were reunited with their families Thursday after being released [DOD press release] by the US military from four years of detention in Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. The men denied links to Islamic terror groups and alleged abuse at the hands of their captors as they spoke at the offices of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission [UN backgrounder] in Kabul. Habibul Rehman, arrested four years ago when he was only 16, admitted that he had been carrying light weapons like many other Afghanis but that he never fought with the Taliban. He claimed that the men were subjected to practices such as mental torture and sleep deprivation. To date the White House has rejected all allegations of torture [JURIST report] at Guantanamo, and says that the camp respects humanitarian law.
Sayed Mohammad Ali Shah, another ex-detainee who's a medical doctor, told journalists that many in the group still suffer from mental anguish. He claimed that many of the current Guantanamo Bay prisoners are being held due to false reports, based on tribal, ethnic, religious, and political reasons, and that the American military is not investigating these reports before making arrests. Shah met with the commission chief, former Afghan president Sibghatullah Mujaddedi [official profile], and said he was pleased to have the opportunity to talk about his experiences at Guantanamo. There are still approximately 70 Afghan citizens being held there, and Afghanistan is working to repatriate all of them, allocating a section of Kabul's Pul-e-Charkhi [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] prison for Afghan terror suspects who must continue to be detained. AFP has more.