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Lawyers File for Release of 9 Guantanamo Prisoners, BBC Reports
July 3 -- Lawyers filed petitions in a U.S. court demanding the release of nine prisoners from among the almost 600 still being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported.

The petitions are the first to be filed since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this week said the prisoners could challenge their detention in U.S. courts, the BBC said on its Web site.

The detainees named include two Britons, three French citizens, a Turk, two Arabs from Jordan and Iraq, and a Canadian. The petitions say their detention is illegal, the BBC reported, citing the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is part of the legal action.

Detainees from 40 countries are being held at the Cuba base, most captured in Afghanistan in late 2001 during the U.S.-led invasion to oust the Taliban regime, the BBC said. Many have spent more than two years in captivity without being charged.

U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, who opposes the decision by U.S. President George W. Bush to use military tribunals to try the Guantanamo detainees, said this week he's pressing officials in the U.S. to either release the British citizens or grant them a fair trial ``in accordance with international standards.''

(BBC Online 7-3)

For the BBC's Web site, {BBCN }

To contact the reporter on this story: Jackie Andrews at at kay@bloomberg.net

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