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Tunisia appeals court affirms terror conviction of former Guantanamo detainee

[JURIST] A former Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee convicted in Tunisia of criminal association lost an appeal Tuesday in a Tunis court. Lotfi Lagha [HRW backgrounder], who was transferred to Tunisian custody [JURIST report] in June 2007 after five years at Guantanamo Bay, was sentenced to three years in prison [JURIST report] in October for associating with a criminal group with the aim of harming or causing damage in Tunisia. Additional charges related to Lagha's 2001 trip to Afghanistan and alleged training with the Taliban were dismissed by the trial court. Lawyers for Lagha said he was not guilty on all counts, as the Taliban controlled Afghanistan at the time of his trip and could not have been considered a terrorist organization. AP has more.

Last September, Human Rights Watch released a report [text; press release] accusing Tunisian officials of mistreating Lagha [JURIST report] and fellow captive Abdullah al-Hajji Ben Amor after they were returned to Tunisia from Guantanamo Bay. Al-Hajji was sentenced to seven years in prison [JURIST report] by a Tunisian court in November.

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