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"We could not understand what he was saying."

On January 20, 2002, six Algerian men who had been arrested in Bosnia arrived at the American prison on Guantanamo Bay. One of them, Lakhdar Boumediene, won a landmark case in the Supreme Court, and was subsequently released to France on May 15, 2009. Others, including Saber Lahmar, are still "detained."

Melissa Hoffer, one of the lawyers who represents the Algerian prisoners, has described the conditions of their imprisonment and the circumstances of their transfer from Bosnia to Guantanamo.

After a three-month investigation, the Bosnian federal prosecutor recommended to the Bosnian Supreme Court that all six be released. But again under heavy pressure from the United States, the Bosnians caved, and as the men were released from a jail in Sarajevo, the Bosnians turned them over to the United States.

"We could not understand what he was saying."

When we last saw Saber in November, he was in his sixth month of solitary confinement. Since August, he has seen us, his legal team, twice and a psychiatrist on three brief occasions. For a few minutes each day, he sees the camp guards who bring his meals. He has had no other human contact. The glaring lights in his cell are on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When we left the cell, we could hear Saber shouting -- brief, truncated cries.

We could not understand what he was saying.

 

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