SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A U.S. military review panel at Guantanamo Bay (search), Cuba, ordered 11 detainees to remain held as "enemy combatants," an official said Tuesday.
At least 234 review hearings have been held and 101 decisions have been announced, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Daryl Borgquist, a spokesman for the so-called Combatant Status Review Tribunals (search). Specifics of the decisions announced Tuesday were not released.
The review panels have so far ordered one prisoner released, to Pakistan (search), after deciding he was improperly held for more than two years as an "enemy combatant," a classification giving fewer legal protections than that of a prisoner of war. Others have been ordered to remain in detention.
At least five tribunal hearings were held Tuesday for prisoners accused of links to Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime or al-Qaida, including three who decided not to attend, Borgquist said. No journalists were present.
Nearly 100 detainees have refused to attend the hearings, officials say.
All of the approximately 550 prisoners at the U.S. base in Cuba are suspected of links to the Taliban or al-Qaida terror network.
The review tribunals are separate from military commissions that began with pretrial hearings in August. The first commission trial is due to start in December.
Defense attorneys and human rights groups say the review hearings are a sham because they don't satisfy a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing detainees to challenge their detentions in civilian courts, where they would be allowed lawyers.
The government says the hearings are administrative. Nothing prohibits prosecutors from using testimony given at the proceedings during the military commissions, or trials. Some defense attorneys have warned their clients not to speak at the review tribunals.