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Thursday, 7 February, 2002, 03:35 GMT
US resumes Camp X-Ray flights
A prisoner strapped to a stretcher is taken for interrogation
Treatment of the men has caused concern
The United States has resumed the transfer of prisoners from Afghanistan to the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba.

More than 150 al-Qaeda and Taleban suspects are already being held at the base, known as Camp X-Ray.

Prisoner escorted by US soldiers
The US says information from the detainees has already saved lives
The flights were stopped two weeks ago when the camp reached capacity but officials say enough new cells have now been built to accommodate 320 prisoners.

Treatment of the men at the camp has provoked international criticism and claims of human rights abuses.

Washington insists that the detainees - who are kept in open-air cells with walls of chain-link fence - are being treated humanely.

A plane carrying the latest batch of prisoners took off late on Wednesday from Kandahar, Afghanistan, and was due to arrive at Guantanamo Bay on Thursday.

Carted on stretchers

"We are ready to receive additional detainees, and we will do that in the near future," camp commander Colonel Terry Carrico said on Wednesday.

In the past two weeks prisoners have been seen being taken aside one-by-one for interrogation.

  • Buckets for toilets
  • Thin foam mattresses
  • Beards shaved

    Clickable guide: Inside Camp X-Ray

  • Some were carted to and from interrogation rooms on stretchers fitted with two wheels, with their hands and feet bound so they are unable to attack their escorts, according to military officials.

    The US classifies the detainees as "illegal combatants" rather than prisoners of war which means they are denied rights enshrined in the Geneva Convention.

    Washington believes that interrogating the men is yielding invaluable information on the al-Qaeda network led by Osama Bin Laden.

    FBI Director Robert Mueller has visited the base where prisoners are held in Kandahar and said questioning the suspects had already served a good purpose.

    "Information we have picked up since the war has prevented additional attacks around the world," Mr Mueller said.

    "Interrogations from al-Qaeda members detained here in Afghanistan as well as documents... have prevented additional attacks against US facilities."

    See also:

    23 Jan 02 | Americas
    US halts transfers to Cuba camp
    22 Jan 02 | Americas
    Analysis: US court challenge
    22 Jan 02 | Americas
    Judge's 'doubts' over Cuba prisoners
    16 Jan 02 | Americas
    US Taleban suspect 'refused lawyer'
    22 Jan 02 | Americas
    Geneva Convention to cover Taleban
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