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US identifies Syrian prisoner sent to Portugal

Associated Press
August 31, 2009

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A Guantanamo inmate who said the prison's harsh conditions drove him to attempt suicide has been sent to Portugal, the U.S. said in court documents.

Mohammed Khan Tumani, 26, was one of two Syrian prisoners at Guantanamo transferred to "the control of the government of Portugal," U.S. officials said in documents filed Sunday in Washington. The other was Moammar Badawi Dokhan.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Friday that the prisoners had been transferred but did not reveal their names. A spokesman, Dean Boyd, said they were not identified for security and privacy reasons at Portugal's request.

Portuguese officials said the men did not face charges and would not be subject to any travel restrictions once they obtain permanent visas.

Khan Tumani's lawyer, Pardiss Kebriaei, said in February that the isolation and harsh conditions at Guantanamo Bay had driven him to repeatedly bang his head against the wall and show other signs of "mental deterioration," including smearing the walls of his cell with excrement. They said he slashed one of his wrists in December.

Kebriaei sought improvements in Khan Tumani's living conditions and asked that he be permitted contact with a prisoner he identified as his father. The military denied any mistreatment, described the suicide attempt as a "minor cut on his arm," and said DNA tests showed the other prisoner was his uncle, not his father.

Kebriaei declined to comment on the case Monday.

Both Khan Tumani and Dohkan, 37, had been held at Guantanamo as enemy combatants since February 2002, but were never charged.

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