Detainee: Guantanamo the 'worst place on Earth'
Agence France-Presse
Published: Wednesday December 17, 2008

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An Algerian-born man who has just been freed from Guantanamo Bay has described the US "war on terror" camp as the worst place on Earth, in an interview published in a Bosnian newspaper.

"For almost seven years, I was at the end of the world, at the worst place in the world,'' Mustafa Ait Idir told the Dnevni Avaz a day after arriving back in his adopted homeland of Bosnia.

"It would have been hard even if I had done something wrong (but) it is much harder if one is totally innocent,'' he said.

Mr Idir, along with two other detainees released from Guantanamo, Mohamed Nechla and Hadji Boudella, arrived in Bosnia yesterday.

The three, who were held at Guantanamo for almost seven years, were the first inmates to have been released by the US administration of President George W. Bush under a judge's orders.

"You can well imagine how happy I am now. We all cried together,'' Mr Idir said, referring to his wife and children.

On arrival at Sarajevo airport, the trio were questioned by police and then released to be reunited with their families.

The three were among six Algerians arrested in late 2001 on suspicion of plotting an attack on the US embassy in Sarajevo. They had been living in Bosnia where they had been given nationality.

In January 2002, although a Bosnian court released them due to lack of evidence, they were transferred to the US camp Bay in Cuba.

But on November 20, more than seven years after the opening of the Guantanamo prison, a US judge acknowledged that five of the six men had been illegally detained and ordered their release, in the first such ruling.

Bosnian Muslim politicians welcomed the trio's return.

"The United States found strength to admit that these people were not guilty and it is a great thing,'' Sulejman Tihic, the head of Bosnia's strongest Muslim political grouping, the Party of Democratic Action (SDA), told Dnevni Avaz.

SDA vice-president Bakir Izetbegovic told the daily that "their release is notably good for Bosnia-Hercegovina because it confirms that there are no terrorist cells here''.