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German held in U.S. custody in Afghanistan

Officials not releasing information on detainee
April 19, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
U.S. authorities in Afghanistan have been holding a German citizen in custody since early January over accusations that he was on a U.S. base without authorization, Germany's Foreign Ministry said Saturday. A ministry spokesman said on customary condition of anonymity that Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is in contact with the U.S. on the issue and is working to secure the release of the German, a man of Afghan origin.

He said that German Embassy staff in Kabul have been able to visit the man.

The ministry did not give further details.

The weekly Der Spiegel, which did not cite sources, reported that the man - whom it identified as Gholam Ghaus Z., 41 - had traveled to Kabul to visit relatives and was arrested as he tried to buy a razor at a U.S. military supermarket.

U.S. military officials at the Bagram base in Afghanistan declined to answer questions about the detainee, referring queries to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the U.S. Department of Defense and the Afghan Interior Ministry.

ICRC spokeswoman Graziella Leite Piccolo and Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary did not immediately have any information on the German detainee.

 

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