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Germany

US Free German Suspected of Terrorism in Kabul

US military authorities in Afghanistan have released a German of Afghan origin detained at a military airbase near Kabul five months ago on suspicion of terrorism.

A US flag at the barbed wire compound of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba

The Gerrman national was held for almost five months in a US prison in Afghanistan

The German foreign ministry in Berlin told the Web site of Der Spiegel news magazine that the 41-year-old man, identified as Gholam Ghaus Z, was released from captivity at the US base camp of Bagram in Afghanistan.

"The German government made intense efforts to secure the release of the German national and managed to reach agreement with the US," a spokesman of the ministry said.

The man was detained at the beginning of January this year in a Kabul supermarket on a US base after American officials apparently found him acting suspiciously.

The man, who lives in the city of Wuppertal, was visiting relatives at the time.

Wrong place at the wrong time

The German ambassador to Afghanistan, Hans-Ulrich Seidt, who was allowed by US authorities to visit the man in prison months after his capture, had said the Ghaus had seemed disoriented.

Ghaus' release on Saturday, May 31, came after months of diplomatic efforts by the German government to get him freed.

German security officials, who investigated Ghaus' family and friends, suspect he was merely in the wrong place at the wrong time and that he at no stage posed a security risk.

The case sparked comparisons with a German of Turkish origin, Murat Kuraz, who was held in the US military's Guantanamo Bay camp on Cuba for more than four years without ever being charged. Kurnaz was just 19 at the time of his arrest in Afghanistan.

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