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Australian In, Afghan Out At Gitmo

A prisoner being held on suspicion of terrorism at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba was flown back to Afghanistan because U.S. officials determined he was mentally ill, an Afghan official said Sunday.

And an Australian man alleged to have trained with Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network in Afghanistan has been moved to the base, the Australian government said on Monday.

In other comings and goings, the U.S. military also flew another 21 al Qaeda and Taliban captives from Afghanistan to Guantanamo, a U.S. official said Monday. The prisoner population at the base is now 384.

Also Monday, the government of Kuwait said it would send a legal team to assist citizens detained at Guantanamo. Officials say there are about 10 Kuwaitis among the detainee population being held for allegedly being members of the al Qaeda and Taliban movement.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammad al-Salem al-Sabah told reporters after a meeting of parliament's human rights committee that Washington had approved the trip.

The Afghan inmate was only the second to be flown out of the base since the United States began sending suspected terrorists to the Caribbean outpost three months ago.

Brig. Gen. Rick Baccus confirmed Thursday that he had "relinquished control over one detainee," but wouldn't give any details. A Pentagon spokesman, Army Lt. Col. Rivers Johnson, later said the prisoner was flown to Afghanistan. The Afghan official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said the man was found to be suffering from schizophrenia.

The United States has agreed to allow Australian government officials access to Australian Mamdouh Habib while he is held at the base, Attorney-General Daryl Williams said. Habib, a 46-year-old father of four, also holds Egyptian citizenship.

He was arrested in Pakistan in October. He was initially transferred to Egyptian custody, but then was moved to Afghanistan and handed over to the U.S. military.

Habib's family in Sydney has denied he was involved with al Qaeda, and said he was looking for an Islamic school for his children when he was arrested.

Habib joins fellow Australian David Hicks at Camp X-Ray. Hicks, 26, was captured by United States' forces in Afghanistan in December where he was allegedly fighting for the Taliban.

Williams said last week Hicks would also be interviewed by government officials.

The two suspects will not be allowed to have lawyers present during the interviews, Williams said.

The only other detainee to leave Guantanamo was Yasser Esam Hamdi, 22, who was flown to the United States on April 5 after records showed he was an American citizen born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to Saudi parents.

Most of the prisoners were transferred to Guantanamo after being arrested in Afghanistan, and are suspected of links either to Afghanistan's former Taliban rulers or to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network.

But officials have said recently that Guantanamo may become a detention center for a broad range of terrorism suspects.

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