Detainees' names to stay secret

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The Bush administration was told by a federal court yesterday that it could continue to conceal the names of hundreds of prisoners incarcerated since 11 September because disclosing the information could aid terrorists.

The federal appeals court ruled against more than 20 civil rights groups which had challenged the government. The court accepted the government's argument that to release the information would affect national security. The names of 700 people detained on immigration violations or as witnesses into investigations into the attacks on New York and Washington will not have to be revealed, it ruled.

Judge David Sentelle wrote: "While the name of a detainee may appear innocuous ... it could be of great use to al-Qa'ida in plotting future terrorist attacks or intimidating witnesses in the present investigation."