SAN JUAN -- More than 100 men and boys will be transferred in the next two months from the US jail for terrorism suspects in Cuba, including a teenager who allegedly killed an American special operations soldier, a US military official said.
The first of two transfers is scheduled for the end of December, and the other in January, the official said on condition of anonymity.
The detainees would be released from US custody, but it was unclear if any would face further detention or prosecution in their home countries.
The official did not say where the prisoners would be sent, and a military spokeswoman declined yesterday to provide details about future transfers from the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
"We do expect there will be other transfers, but because of operational procedures, I can't talk about any details," Lieutenant Colonel Pamela Hart said. "We only talk about detainee movements after an operation is complete."
The military official who spoke on condition that his name not be revealed said that one of the boys who would be transferred shot and killed a special operations soldier in Afghanistan, where a US-led coalition ousted the Taliban regime in late 2001 and 11,500 American troops remain.
The military official did not provide details about the incident, including the boy's age, name, or where or when the alleged shooting occurred. But he said that the boy apparently pretended to be dead, then opened fire on the American.
The official did not know why the boy was being released from US custody, but the military has said previously that the main purpose of the detention mission is intelligence gathering.
The United States holds about 660 prisoners from 44 countries at the base in eastern Cuba, but has declined to provide a breakdown of their citizenship, ages, or the reasons they are being held.
The government has not charged them or given them access to lawyers.
The United States has released 88 prisoners since the government began holding suspects at the base in January 2002.
Major General Geoffrey Miller, the official in charge of the detention mission, said Wednesday that the three youngest boys at the jail, who range from 13 to 15, would be transferred soon, but did not give a date.
Before their capture by US forces in Afghanistan, some of the youths held at the base were sexually abused; they have received therapy at Guantanamo, the official said. The boys are kept separate from the adult population at the jail.
Separately, Britain and the United States are negotiating a deal to send nine British detainees back home.
Clive Stafford Smith, a US-based British human rights lawyer, told The Observer, a British newspaper, that two of the nine British detainees, Asif Iqbal and Shafiq Rasul, were likely to be released and not charged with a crime, while the other seven would serve sentences in British jails after pleading guilty to unspecified charges in the United States.
The British Foreign Office declined to confirm the report and said that discussions with US officials were continuing.