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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 February, 2005, 11:40 GMT
Moroccans claim Guantanamo abuse
By Pascale Harter
BBC News, Rabat

Prisoners at Guantanamo US camp, Cuba
This the first trial of Guantanamo prisoners in an Arab country
Fresh accusations of torture at the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba have emerged during the trial of five detainees transferred to Morocco.

The five men, all Moroccans, appeared in court in the capital Rabat on Monday after being handed over by the US in August last year.

The trial was later adjourned until the end of the month.

This is the first trial of former Guantanamo Bay prisoners to be held in an Arab country.


The five defendants claim that on numerous occasions while in detention at Guantanamo Bay, they were stripped naked and handcuffed before having dogs set upon them.

Each time the defendants brought up instances of torture during their two-year detention at Guantanamo, they were silenced by the Moroccan judge.

"This court is not concerned with what happened elsewhere," he said.

All five defendants plead not guilty to having links with al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden, or to having undergone military training in Afghanistan.

When asked by the judge at Rabat's appeal court why they had signed testimonies to the contrary, they replied that they had been blindfolded for much of their time at Guantanamo and were still blindfolded when they were told to sign testimonies once in Morocco.

The trial could take on wider political proportions here in Morocco, testing the government's staunch support of the US and its war on terror.

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31 Jan 05 |  Americas

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