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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 March, 2005, 00:08 GMT
Last Guantanamo Frenchmen go home
Guantanamo Bay prisoners
The US holds more than 500 inmates at Guantanamo Bay
The last three Frenchmen held at the US jail in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been sent back to France and detained.

Mustaq Ali Patel, Ridouane Khalid and Khaled Ben Mustafa will now be investigated for terrorist links by the French authorities, officials say.

Four former Guantanamo inmates returned to France last July are still in jail, awaiting trial on terrorism charges.

More than 500 detainees remain prisoner at the US facility in Cuba, suspected of links to al-Qaeda and the Taleban.

Many of them have been held without charge and access to lawyers since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

A US federal judge ruled last month that special military tribunals being used to try detainees at the Cuban base were illegal.

A military statement said the latest transfer brought the total number of foreign detainees to have left Guantanamo to 211.

The return of the three Frenchmen was agreed during a visit to Paris in February by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Mr Ben Mustafa, 33, travelled to Afghanistan to learn Arabic, according to his lawyers, before being picked up by US forces.

Mr Patel, born in India, was a preacher at a Paris mosque before he moved to Afghanistan.

Mr Khalid, 36, has two brothers also facing charges of terrorism.

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