by Mike Melia
November 16, 2008
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The U.S. has revised its count of
juveniles ever held at Guantanamo Bay to 12, up from the eight it
reported in May to the United Nations, a Pentagon spokesman said Sunday.
government has provided a corrected report to the U.N. committee on
child rights, according to Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon. He said the U.S.
did not intentionally misrepresent the number of detainees taken to the
isolated Navy base in southeast Cuba before turning 18.
noted to the committee, it remains uncertain the exact age of many of
the juveniles held at Guantanamo, as most of them did not know their
own date of birth or even the year in which they were born," he said.
study released last week by the Center for the Study of Human Rights in
the Americas concluded the U.S. has held at least a dozen juveniles at
Guantanamo, including a Saudi who committed suicide in 2006.
information I got was from their own sources, so they didn't have to
look beyond their own sources to figure this out," said Almerindo
Ojeda, director of the center at the University of California, Davis.
groups say it is important for the U.S. military to know the real age
of those it detains because juveniles are entitled to special
protection under international laws recognized by the United States.
Eight of the 12 juvenile detainees identified by the human rights center have been released, according to the study.
of the remaining detainees are scheduled to face war-crimes trials in
January. Canadian Omar Khadr, now 21, was captured in July 2002 and is
charged with murder for allegedly throwing a grenade that killed a U.S.
special forces soldier. Mohammed Jawad, an Afghan who is about 24,
faces attempted murder charges for a 2002 grenade attack that wounded
two U.S. soldiers.
The study identified the only other remaining juvenile as Muhammed Hamid al Qarani of Chad.
Saudi who hanged himself with two other detainees in 2006, Yasser Talal
al-Zahrani, was 17 when he arrived at Guantanamo within days of the
military prison opening in January 2002, according to the study.
About 250 prisoners remain at Guantanamo on suspicion of terrorism or links to al-Qaida or the Taliban.
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