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Red Cross meets with 9/11 'mastermind'

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- For the first time, the Red Cross was allowed to meet with 14 U.S. prisoners who have been held incommunicado for as long as five years, the U.S. military said.

The 14 -- considered "high value targets" and held by the CIA or other agencies at secret detention facilities -- were transferred to Guantanamo Bay in September to open the way for military trials.

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Among the group is Khalid Sheik Mohammed, alleged to be the mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

This is the first time the detainees have been accessible to the ICRC, which monitors compliance with Geneva Convention standards of treatment of prisoners.

U.S. Navy Cdr. Robert Durand, a spokesman for the military's Joint Task Force Guantanamo, confirmed the ICRC visit had concluded on Thursday. He would not confirm exactly which of the 440 detainees at Guantanamo they met with.

"The advice and reports of the ICRC to the Joint Task Force are meaningful, useful and confidential. It would be a violation of this confidentiality to disclose which detainees they met with during their visit, or what advice they gave," he said.

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There are still 110 prisoners at Guantanamo who have been cleared for release or transfer to another government.

The Defense Department announced Thursday 15 detainees have been transferred to Afghanistan and one to Morocco. Approximately 335 detainees have been transferred to another government or released in their home countries, including Albania, Afghanistan, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, the Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uganda, the United Kingdom and Yemen.

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