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A federal appeals court Monday blocked the Bush administration from transferring a detainee at Guantanamo Bay to Algeria, where the prisoner says his life would be in danger from the government and al-Qaida.

The appeals court is stopping any transfer while it considers Ahmed Belbacha's request that he not be returned to his home country.

Belbacha was brought to Guantanamo Bay in 2002 from Pakistan. He had been an accountant at the Algerian government's oil company, Sonatrach.

Belbacha said that after he was recalled for a second term of service in the Algerian army, he was targeted with death threats by terrorists in Groupe Islamique Armee, then at the height of a violent campaign for an Islamic Algeria.

Belbacha never reported for duty, but he said the GIA visited his home at least twice and threatened him and his family. He left the country, traveling to France, England, Pakistan and Afghanistan before being taken into custody and sent to Guantanamo Bay.

The U.S. military has classified Belbacha as an enemy combatant, saying he associated with the Taliban in Afghanistan. The U.S. government said he is eligible for transfer subject to appropriate diplomatic arrangements for another country to take him.

Belbacha's lawyer, David Remes, said he went to court after hearing from a confidential source that Belbacha was to be sent to Algeria.


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