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Guantanamo inmate may be freed -German minister

Written by: Staff

BERLIN, Mar 28 (Reuters) A Turkish man with German residency status who has been held at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay since early 2002 could be freed soon, Germany's Interior Minister was quoted as saying today.

Murat Kurnaz, who was born in Germany in 1982 to Turkish parents and is a Turkish national, was in the process of becoming a German citizen when he was arrested in Pakistan in late 2001.

He was taken from there to Guantanamo, where the United States is holding hundreds it suspects of backing Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda or Afghanistan's radical Islamist Taliban.

''We have been trying to secure the release of Herr Kurnaz and have also stated that he can come back to Germany, although he does not have German citizenship,'' Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told German TV broadcaster ARD.

''I think this will soon be the case,'' he added.

Kurnaz, dubbed the ''Bremen Taliban'' after the city in northern Germany where he lived, says he suffered abuse at Guantanamo and interrogation techniques including sexual humiliation, water torture and the desecration of Islam.

The United States has come under strong criticism from human rights groups for holding some 500 foreign terrorism suspects at the naval base in Cuba, many for as long as four years.

Reuters PDS RN0123

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