An Algerian court Nov. 29 sentenced in absentia Guantánamo Bay detainee Ahmed Belbacha to 20 years in prison for being part of an “overseas terrorist group.” Belbacha has been cleared for release from Guantánamo but says he does not want to return to his home country of Algeria for fear of torture and has requested asylum in the US. Belbacha has been held in Guantánamo since 2002 after he was captured in Pakistan. Human Rights Watch reported that he tried to commit suicide at Guantánamo but would rather stay there than return to Algeria. HRW said that there are approximately 60 detainees who face a credible threat of torture or persecution if they return to their home country. (Jurist, Nov. 30)
See our last posts on Algeria, Guantánamo and the torture scandal.