Italy deports Tunisian held at Guantanamo

AP News
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Posted: Apr 20, 2011 8:05 AM
Italy deports Tunisian held at Guantanamo

The Italian government on Wednesday deported a Tunisian man who was held for eight years at Guantanamo on terrorism charges and then transferred to Italy in 2009 as part of the U.S. government's attempts to shut down the prison.

The Interior Ministry said Adel Ben Mabrouk was put on a plane for Tunisia under an agreement with Tunisian diplomats in Rome.

Mabrouk lived in Italy before traveling to Afghanistan, where he was captured on the border with Pakistan and turned over to the United States in 2001. Upon his return to Italy along with another prisoner, he was convicted of criminal association with the aim of terrorism but was freed in February because of time served in Guantanamo.

Prosecutors said that while living in Italy he frequented an Islamic center in Milan which a U.S. Treasury report at the time labeled "the main al-Qaida station house in Europe."

The Interior Ministry statement said the group had planned using a car bomb to blow up Milan's Gothic cathedral. The attack never took place.

The deportation to Tunisia had been apparently held up because of the political turmoil in the North African country. The ministry praised the "renewed cooperation" between Italian authorities and Tunisian diplomats in Italy.