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Cablegate: Letter From Belgian Attorney Concerning

VZCZCXYZ0015
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBS #4193 3550829
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 210829Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3910
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0018
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 0066

UNCLAS BRUSSELS 004193

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PINS BE IZ
SUBJECT: Letter from Belgian Attorney Concerning
Incarceration in Iraq of Oussama Atar


1. (SBU) Belgian attorney Jacques Bourgaux wrote the
Ambassador December 11 to seek information regarding the
detention in Iraq of Oussama Atar, a Belgian of Moroccan
origin. Unofficial embassy translation of the letter is
reproduced in paragraph two. The letter reports Atar as
being held by the U.S. when, according to information we
have received from a variety of sources, including the
Belgian MFA and the Iraqi embassy here, it appears he
has been convicted by an Iraqi court for entering the
country illegally. USG elements reportedly manage the
facility where Atar is being held prior to being turned
over to Iraqi custody after his sentencing in mid-
January. The Embassy proposes acknowledging receipt of
the Bourgaux letter and referring him to the Belgian
MFA. Acting at our suggestion, the Belgians are dealing
directly with the Iraqis on this matter, both here in
Brussels and via the Belgian embassy in Amman, where the
Belgian Charge accredited in Baghdad resides.

2. (U) Request Department's guidance on answering the
Bourgaux letter.

3. (U) Begin Unofficial Embassy Translation:

December 11, 2006

Dear Mr. Ambassador:

I have the honor to inform you that the family of Mr.
Oussama Atar has sought my advice. He was born May 4,
1984, in Laeken (Brussels). He is a Belgian national
domiciled in the above mentioned municipality, Place
Joseph Benoit Willems, 13.

The person in question left his parents three years ago,
and according to the International Committee of the Red
Cross, Central Tracing Agency, he is being held in
southern Iraq, at the Bucca Camp, a camp controlled by
the allied forces.

According to the responsible persons I have contacted at
the Belgian Foreign and Justice Ministries, a delegation
has been able to contact the Belgian national at the
Bucca Camp. It occurs that the Belgian national was
first held at Abu-Gharib, and later at the Cropper Camp,
before his transfer to Bucca Camp.

The family would like to know the reason for his long
(almost three years) internment, and more particularly
the charges that have been brought against Mr. Atar.

Finally, your Embassy, by obtaining information locally
in Iraq or from the American authorities competent for
this sort of demarche, might be able to indicate to me
under what conditions and when the liberation and
repatriation to Belgium of Mr. Atar might be envisaged.

His present demarche has apurely humanitarian
motivation, and although ery concerned, the family has
no intention, at this stage, to turn this demarche into
a ublic matter.

Yours sincerely, Jacques Bourgax

END TRANSLATION

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