Guilty Until Proven Innocent?

By Caitlin Taylor

Jun 8, 2009 8:36am

ABC News' Jake Tapper and Karen Travers report:

Lakhdar Boumediene, who spent more than seven years at Guantanamo but is now a free man, said he understands, to a degree, how the attacks of Sept. 11 prompted strong reactions from the U.S. government.

"The first month, okay, no problem, the building, the 11 of September, the people, they are scared, but not 7 years. They can know whose innocent, who's not innocent, who's terrorist, who's not terrorist," he said. "I give you 2 years, no problem, but not 7 years."

Perhaps the oddest thing about the 7 1/2 imprisonment of 43-year-old Algerian detainee? Boumediene says interrogators not once asked him about the original pretext for his arrest in Bosnia in October 2001 — his alleged involvement in a plot to blow up the US and British embassies there.

When the Bush administration was forced to bring their case against Boumediene, a former humanitarian aid worker with the Red Crescent, all they alleged was that he and others were planning on going to Afghanistan to fight the US.
 
A Republican-appointed judge said the evidence was weak and ordered his release.

On May 15 he was sent to France, where we interviewed him in his exclusive first TV interview.

Read more HERE.

- Jake Tapper and Karen Travers

Related Links

EXCLUSIVE: Recently Released Gitmo Detainee Talks to ABC News

Gitmo Detainee Boumediene en Route to France

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