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2 Gitmo prisoners going back to Algeria

The Supreme Court has cleared the way for the United States to send two Guantánamo Bay prisoners back to Algeria even though they want to remain at the prison camp because of fear they might be tortured at home.

Justices yesterday declined to hear the appeal of Aziz Abdul Naji, held at Guantánamo since 2002 after being captured in Pakistan. That ruling follows the high court's decision late Friday that allowed the U.S. government to proceed in transferring another Algerian detainee back home.

Both detainees had argued they would be harmed by the Algerian government or unaffiliated armed Islamic militants if they were to be released.

They are among six Algerian detainees at Guantánamo who say they would rather remain at the prison camp in Cuba than return to their country where political turmoil has claimed lives in recent years.

A federal judge this year initially barred the U.S. government from repatriating one of the detainees to Algeria until there were more assurances that he would be treated humanely. An appeals court later overturned that order.

On Friday, the Supreme Court - with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor dissenting - backed the decision of the appeals court in saying the detainee should be sent back.

The U.S. government says it has assurances that the Algerian detainees will not be abused.

A Pentagon spokeswoman, Maj. Tanya Bradsher, yesterday said her department had no comment on when the detainees might be transferred.

- AP

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