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German Foreign Minister gets support in Guantanamo detainee row

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German Foreign Minister gets support in Guantanamo detainee row


The inquiry in Germany into the alleged co-operation between Germany and America in the war on terror has been focussing on the case of Murat Kurnaz, a German-born Turk. He was arrested six years ago by the Pakistanis and handed over to the US authorities, who imprisoned him in Guantanamo Bay. He was freed last year without charge.

Foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has been accused, for the last year, of doing nothing to get Kurnaz out of custody. He denies he is personally responsible for Kurnaz’s suffering but the opposition has called for him to resign. Steinmeyer’s received support from the former Interior Minister Otto Schilly who rejects the popular view that Kurnaz is innocent.

He claims Kurnaz was, and is, a security risk. “The judgement of the situation was up to the Interior Ministry and lower authorities, and I am comfortable with this responsibility”. It’s alleged the Americans offered to release Kurnaz in 2002, but this has been denied.

He is now living with family in Bremen, and says he was tortured by both American and German soldiers in Guantanamo. He has never been able to allay suspicions about his fateful visit, as a nineteen-year-old, to Pakistan.

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