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Two dozen freed from Guantanamo


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(CNN) -- The Pentagon has released 23 Afghans and 3 Pakistani prisoners being held at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The prisoners will be flown back home, but the terms of their release were not immediately clear.

"The circumstances in which detainees are apprehended can be ambiguous, and many of them are highly skilled in concealing the truth," a Defense Department statement said.

"The process of evaluation and detention is not free of risk -- at least one detainee has gone back to the fight."

About 100 suspects have been released from Guantanamo Bay in the past month. Some 600 men are still being held incommunicado at the base.

Meanwhile, three British men freed from the base say they were forced to give false confessions about their actions in Afghanistan.

The three men, from the town of Tipton, spoke of their ordeal with the British newspaper, The Observer, and are threatening legal action against the UK government.

The men were among five Britons flown home last week.

Ruhal Ahmed, Asif Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul spent 26 months in captivity following their capture in Afghanistan shortly after the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.

Their first stop was the notorious Shibergan prison in northern Afghanistan run by Afghan warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, where prisoners died of torture and starvation.

By the end of 2001 the men were in U.S. custody and on their way to Guantanamo Bay.

"Once at Guantanamo, they were left in solitary confinement for very lengthy periods and subjected to more than two hundred interrogations each both by the British authorities in the shape of MI5 and by the American CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and so on," Observer reporter David Rose said.

The former detainees say they were kept in shackles and interrogated under duress and, at times, forced to make false confessions.

Their lawyer, Louise Christian, is threatening legal action against the British government saying officials from there were present at interrogations on Guantanamo where UK nationals were tortured.

But there is some doubt about whether there is a case to be made.

"This is very very common in foreign affairs that a consular official has to accept such conditions, however wrong, to get access at all or they get no access," Steven Jakobi of the Fair Trials Abroad told CNN.

"Whether we like it or not, we've got to accept that diplomats have to take into account their own judgment in situations which obviously they are not in control."

The British Foreign office has declined to comment on the matter, but legal experts say that even if British officials witnessed harsh conditions at Guantanamo, it will be very difficult to hold them responsible.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell called earlier allegations of abuse by another of the released detainees "unlikely." (Britons allege beatings)

-- CNN Correspondent Guy Raz contributed to this report


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