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6 Yemenis released from Guantanamo

19-12-2006

SAN'A, Yemen (AP) -- Six Yemenis released from the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay have returned home and were being held by Yemeni authorities to determine if they have any terror ties, officials said Monday.

The six were among 18 Guantanamo detainees repatriated by the U.S. military over the weekend to Afghanistan, Yemen, Kazakhstan, Libya and Bangladesh, according to the Pentagon.

One of those released was a Libyan who spent four years in U.S. custody and has tuberculosis, a Libyan rights activist said late Monday. He was identified as Muhammad Abdallah Mansur al-Rimi, 37.

The Yemenis returned home over the past two days, an official with the Yemeni Interior Ministry said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

About 100 Yemenis remain at Guantanamo, according to a list received by the Yemeni government from U.S. In June, a Yemeni and two Saudi Arabians committed suicide at Guantanamo, and their bodies were sent to their homelands.

Yemen, the ancestral land of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, has largely allied itself with the United States in the war on terror.

Al-Rimi, the freed Libyan, was arrested in 2002 in Afghanistan, said Saleh Abdulsalam, the executive manager of the Gadhafi International Association for Charitable Organizations. Though non-governmental, the charity is considered close to the regime and is run by the son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Al-Rimi was the first of some 11 Libyans held at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base to be released, said Abdulsalam.

''He was taken directly to the hospital for a checkup, where he was found to have tuberculosis,'' Abdulsalam said.

The report on the detainee's health could not immediately be independently verified.

Abdulsalam said al-Rimi was not wanted by Libyan authorities and would ''go back to his family soon.''

In other developments, the Pentagon-appointed lawyer for an Australian terror suspect held at Guantanamo said Tuesday U.S. military authorities have refused to allow an independent psychiatric assessment of his client. Maj. Michael Mori said he had requested such an assessment because he became concerned about the mental state of alleged Taliban fighter David Hicks during a visit to Guantanamo Bay on Dec. 9-10.

Some 759 people have been held over the years at Guantanamo, according to U.S. Defense Department documents released to The Associated Press in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

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Associated Press Writer Omar Sinan contributed to this article from Cairo, Egypt.

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