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U-S General Promises Release Of Innocent Guantanamo Detainees - 2002-03-08


The commander the U-S detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba has spoken directly to the detainees from the war on terrorism, saying those who are innocent of serious crimes may be set free.

General Michael Lehnert addressed the 300 fighters from the war in Afghanistan on Friday, where he assured them that their cases will be judged fairly. General Lehnert explained to the prisoners that those who are innocent of ties with al-Qaida and the Taliban will be able to return home.

The Guantanamo camp commander made the speech after 21 men refused breakfast in a hunger strike that has lasted more than a week. The hunger strike began when a guard took a make-shift turban from an inmate during prayers.

General Lehnert urged the prisoners to cooperate with camp officials, answer their questions honestly and to end the waning hunger strike. He said refusing food or drink is not the answer.

U-S military officials say General Lehnert plans to speak to the detainees on a weekly basis.

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