An Indonesian man who arrived at Guantánamo Bay last month after three years in secret CIA captivity has told his family through the Red Cross that he's ``doing fine.''
The Jakarta Post yesterday reported the text of the message transmitted to the family of the 40-year-old man known as Hambali. He is blamed for the October 2002 Bali resort attacks that killed about 200 people.
The newspaper said that an interpreter with the International Committee of the Red Cross read the message to the man's family on Friday -- the day the Red Cross was wrapping up its mission at the remote U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba.
During that trip, the Red Cross for the first time met 14 so-called ''high-value detainees'' who had been held for up to four years at secret CIA black sites -- until President Bush revealed on Sept. 6 that he ordered their transfer to U.S. military custody.
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''I am in Guantánamo now, and I am doing fine,'' he said in the message. ``I hope Mom and other family members are also in good condition. Please send my regards to other relatives.''
The White House says Hambali's real name is Riduan Isomuddin and alleges he ''helped plan'' the attacks at a bustling bar area in Bali. Among the 202 casualties were more than 80 Australian tourists.
He was captured in Thailand in 2003 and disappeared into a CIA black site until Bush confirmed he was being held by the United States.
''Hambali helped plan the first Bali bombings in 2002 that killed more than 200 persons and facilitated al Qaeda financing for the Jakarta Marriott Hotel bombing the following year,'' according to a profile the White House posted on its website on Sept. 6.
It described him as the eldest of 11 children born in West Java to a devout Muslim family.
The 14 latest arrivals at Guantánamo, who included alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, only entered the Red Cross' registry of internationally held prisoners last week. Before that they had been out of reach of the group designated under the Geneva Conventions to track prisoners, advocate for improved conditions and make sure they don't disappear.
A Red Cross spokesman confirmed that a 12-member delegation met all known Guantánamo captives during its recent mission.
But he would not say whether any of the new arrivals alleged torture or misconduct by U.S. interrogators -- in keeping with a Red Cross policy of confidentiality in exchange for getting access to prisoners and prisons the world over.
It is not yet known if any of the other new arrivals similarly sent messages to family via the Red Cross message system which, at Guantánamo, is subjected to military censorship to make sure captives don't spill secrets about the Pentagon's showcase detention center.