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'High value' Guantanamo detainee denies al-Qaeda connection

[JURIST] Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee Gouled Hassan Dourad [BBC profile] has denied accusations of involvement with al-Qaeda, according to a transcript [PDF text] of his April 28 hearing before a Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) [DOD materials] released by the Pentagon Friday. Dourad, a Somali, submitted a statement to be read at the hearing in lieu of making an appearance in which he denied membership in the al Qaeda-supported terrorist group al-Ittihad al-Islami [GlobalSecurity backgrounder], although he did admit to fighting alongside the group in a jihad against Ethiopians. Dourad maintained that his training and fighting were conducted within Somalia, that it was his legal right to defend Somalia, and that it is against his religious beliefs to fight against civilians. Dourad is accused of being an al-Qaeda Djibouti cell leader and senior facilitator.

Dourad was arrested in 2004 and last September was transferred to Guantanamo [JURIST report] as one of 14 "high value" terror suspects [DNI profiles, PDF] potentially eligible for trial by military commission [JURIST news archive]. Last week the US Department of Defense announced that a new high-value detainee, Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi [DOD profile, PDF], had been transferred to Guantanamo to await hearing. The CSRT hearings have been closed to the press [JURIST report], but the Department of Defense has released transcripts of 13 of the 14 hearings held to date. Dourad did not offer details of his detention. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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