BY CON COUGHLIN – The Daily Telegraph U.K. 12/15/06

WASHINGTON – The hard core of detainees held at America’s Guantanamo Bay detention camp will be held indefinitely even if there is insufficient evidence to bring them to trial, a senior Bush administration official said.

Of the 435 detainees being held at Guantanamo, only 10 have so far been charged with terrorism-related offenses. A further 14 detainees – the so-called high value detainees such as the alleged mastermind of the September 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – are also expected to face trial now that the U.S. Congress has passed the Military Commission Act, which will finally enable America to commence trials of Guantanamo detainees next year.

But of the remainder, an estimated 200 detainees face being held indefinitely at Guantanamo because they are deemed a threat to international security even though there is insufficient evidence to bring them before a military commission.

John Bellinger, the legal adviser at the U.S. State Department who is responsible for defending Guantanamo’s legal status, said the hard core of the detainees will continue to be held indefinitely either because they are considered a security threat or because there is nowhere to send them if the military authorities at Guantanamo decide to release them.

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