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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 May, 2004, 17:50 GMT 18:50 UK
Guantanamo Frenchmen 'going home'
Detainees at Guantanamo Bay
Human rights groups demand better conditions at Guantanamo Bay
French nationals imprisoned at the US military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, could soon be on their way home, according to France's justice minister.

Dominique Perben said France was examining conditions set out by the US for the return of as many as all seven of the French nationals at Guantanamo.

Their release could come within weeks, he said, after meeting US Attorney General John Ashcroft in Washington.

The US says its Cuba base holds nearly 600 prisoners from the "war on terror".

About 150 detainees have left the facility - some for prisons in their native countries, while others are now free.

Mr Perben said he wanted the Frenchmen to be freed as soon as possible.

The French authorities would examine each case to decide "the legal situation of these people," he said.

Human rights groups have fiercely criticised the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay.

They argue that the conditions in which prisoners are being held flout international guidelines on the treatment of prisoners of war.


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