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US held 12 juveniles at Guantanamo

November 17, 2008
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SAN JUAN - The United States has revised its count of juveniles ever held at Guantanamo Bay to 12, up from the eight it reported in May to the United Nations, a Pentagon spokesman said yesterday,

The government has provided a corrected report to the UN committee on child rights, according to Navy Commander Jeffrey Gordon. He said the United States did not intentionally misrepresent the number of detainees taken to the isolated Navy base in southeast Cuba before they turned 18.

"As we noted to the committee, it remains uncertain the exact age of many of the juveniles held at Guantanamo, as most of them did not know their own date of birth or even the year in which they were born," he said.

A study released last week by the Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas concluded the United States has held at least a dozen juveniles at Guantanamo, including a Saudi who was 17 when he arrived and who committed suicide in 2006.

Almerindo Ojeda, director of the center at the University of California, Davis, said the study was based on the military's own sources. Rights groups say it is important for the US military to know the real age of those it detains because juveniles are entitled to special protection under international laws recognized by the United States.

Eight of the 12 juvenile detainees identified by the human rights center have been released.

Two of the remaining detainees are scheduled to face war-crimes trials in January: Canadian Omar Khadr, now 21, and Mohammed Jawad, an Afghan who is about 24. The study identified the only other remaining juvenile as Muhammed Hamid al Qarani of Chad.

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