RABAT, Morocco – Five Moroccans detained at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, (search) were turned over to Moroccan authorities,the country's official news agency reported Monday.
The men, who were arrested during the U.S.-led war that toppled Afghanistan's hard-line Taliban (search) regime, arrived in the North African kingdom on Sunday, the MAP news agency said. The five were handed to justice officials.
The prosecutor named the men as Mohamed Ouzar, 24; Mohamed Mazouz, 30; Radouane Chekkouri, 32; Abdellah Tabarak, 49, and Brahim Benchakroun, 24. They will be investigated by Moroccan police working under the prosecutor of the appeals court in Rabat, the capital.
Morocco, which has an active network of Islamic militants, is one of the United States' most important allies in the Muslim world in fighting terror.
Homicide bombings in Casablanca, Morocco's largest city, killed 33 bystanders and a dozen bombers in May 2003. Most of the suspects charged in the March 11 train bombings that killed 191 people in Madrid were Moroccans.
The kingdom has led a tough crackdown on Islamic radicals since the Casablanca bombings, arresting hundreds of suspects and sending their cases quickly through the judicial system.
After months of international criticism for holding hundreds of suspects at Guantanamo Bay without charge, the United States has been gradually releasing some prisoners from the Cuban naval base.
Four French citizens who were held at Guantanamo were handed to French authorities on July 27 after authorities negotiated for months to secure their release. The four are being held while authorities investigate their possible links to terrorist organizations. France, meanwhile, is still negotiating for the release of three more nationals.
The military prison camp at Guantanamo Bay now holds 586 inmates. Human rights groups have repeatedly expressed concerns about the U.S. military's practice of holding the prisoners at Guantanamo without charges.