Pentagon denies former prisoner's abuse allegation

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Pentagon rejected allegations today that Guantanamo Bay authorities abused one of the first detainees ordered freed by a U.S. federal judge.

Mustafa Ait Idr told a private television station upon arriving in Bosnia that interrogators broke one of his fingers and that his captors desecrated the Quran, Islam's holy book.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon denied the report.

"The Department of Defense policy is clear," Gordon said. "We treat all detainees humanely."

He said that 12 major reviews conducted of detention operations in recent years did not find any policy that condoned abuse.

The 38-year-old Algerian and two other Algerian-born naturalized Bosnians were detained in 2001 on suspicion of plotting to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo. They had been held at Guantanamo since January 2002.

A U.S. federal judge ruled last month they should be released, saying the U.S. government's evidence linking the men to al-Qaida was not credible because it came from a single, unidentified source.

The cases of more than 200 additional Guantanamo detainees are still pending, many in front of other judges in Washington's federal courts.

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