PARIS – A Paris court on Wednesday convicted five former inmates at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, of having links to terrorist groups, while acquitting a sixth man.
The five were convicted of "criminal association with a terrorist enterprise," a broad charge frequently used in France. The court handed them one-year prison sentences.
The verdict had originally been expected in September 2006 but was postponed. At the time, the court said it needed to seek more information about secret interrogations of the suspects by French intelligence officers at the American base.
The suspects' lawyers had complained that the men were questioned by agents of the DST counterintelligence service outside the framework of international law. Information about the interrogations did not surface until the trial was already under way, when Liberation newspaper published a classified document about them.
Seven French citizens were captured in or near Afghanistan by U.S. forces in late 2001, held at Guantanamo and then handed over to French authorities in 2004 and 2005. One was freed immediately and found to have no ties to terrorism, while the others were released later as investigations continued into their cases.
The men all insisted they are innocent. Their lawyers asked for all to be acquitted.