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Algeria court sentences former Guantanamo detainee to prison

An Algerian court on Monday sentenced former Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee Abdul Aziz Naji [NYT profile] to three years in prison for his participation in a foreign extremist group affiliated with al Qaeda. The sentence was less than the 10 years in prison and USD $6,330 fine sought by the prosecution. Naji was captured in 2002 near Kashmir and transferred to Guantanamo. In July 2010 the US extradited him to Algeria [JURIST report] after the US Supreme Court [official website] declined to stop the transfer [JURIST report]. Shortly following his release, the Algerian prosecutor's office indicted him but did not specify the charges [JURIST report]. Naji's lawyer, Hassiba Boumerdassi plans to appeal the ruling [AFP report], declaring that prosecuting Algerian citizens for their membership in an overseas extremist group is unprecedented in Algeria.

Last January the US Department of Defense [official website] transferred Guantanamo inmate Farhi Saeed Bin Mohammed to Algeria [JURIST report] following a court order from the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website]. In April 2010 lawyers for another Algerian Guantanamo inmate, Ahmed Belbacha, filed an emergency motion [JURIST report] in the same district court for a stay of his transfer to Algeria. In February 2010 an Algerian court acquitted a former Guantanamo detainee [JURIST report] of the charges of counterfeiting and affiliation with an extremist group. In January 2010 the US transferred two Algerian nationals back to their home country [JURIST report] after they had each spent more than five years at Guantanamo.

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