[JURIST] Dozens of accused terror detainees held in US military prisons actually have no ties to terrorism, according to an investigative report published Sunday by McClatchy Newspapers [media website]. McClatchy reporters found that many of the 66 former terror detainees interviewed were ordinary civilians or petty criminals; only 34 had ties to militant groups or activities and of those only seven had connections to al Qaeda leadership. The report also alleges that many of the detainees held at both the Bagram Air Base and Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archives] prisons are civilians who were either caught up in large-scale sweeps by the Afghan and US armies or were arrested based on unreliable information obtained from relatives or neighbors.
The report echoes comments [JURIST report] made in February 2006 by lawyers for two detainees who alleged that over half of detainees held at Guantanamo have not committed terrorist acts or are not members of terrorist organizations. In November 2006, Seton Hall law professor Mark Denbeaux [faculty profile] reported that US military Combatant Status Review Tribunals [DOD materials] do not offer Guantanamo detainees an adequate opportunity to contest the accusations against them [JURIST report] or to object to their status as enemy combatants.