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Saudi Arabia: 10 More Return From Guantanamo
By P.K. Abdul Ghafour
JEDDAH, (Arab News): Ten Saudis returned home early yesterday morning from the US detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, an Interior Ministry spokesman said. Interior Minister Prince Naif told the Saudi Press Agency that efforts were continuing to bring home the remaining Saudis in the camp.
The released Saudis are: Ziyad Saleh Bahuth, Mishaal Saad Al-Rasheed, Jameel Ali Al-Kaabi, Khaled Mulawwah Al-Qahtani, Naif Fahd Al-Otaibi, Abdullah Aidha Al-Matrafi, Abdullah Aali Al-Otaibi, Bandar Ali Al-Rumaihi, Abdul Rahman Nashi Al-Otaibi and Abdul Hakeem Abdul Rahman Al-Moussa.
“I am very happy about the arrival of another group of Saudi detainees from Guantanamo,” the prince said, adding that the men would be subject to Saudi rules and regulations. Prince Naif also commended the cooperation by US authorities in obtaining the transfer of the prisoners. “This will lead to the repatriation of the remaining Saudis in (Guantanamo) in the near future,” he added.
The ministry spokesman said arrangements had been made for the returnees to meet their relatives. The ministry has allocated a special number (01-403-4375) for those who want to contact them.
US authorities have returned dozens of Saudis over the past year in an effort to reduce the numbers detained at the controversial camp. Public anger over the treatment of Saudi detainees in Guantanamo Bay has been high in the Kingdom. Two Saudis were among three prisoners who allegedly hanged themselves at the naval base in June. Those repatriated to the Kingdom have received financial help from the government to rebuild their lives and many have been allowed to go free.
Fahd Al-Shamri, a Riyadh-based lawyer representing the families of Saudis held at Guantanamo, called for the release of those still held in the facility. “We hope the next group will be the last so that we turn this bleak page and bring to an end the suffering of the families of these detainees,” he said in a statement.
Washington has designated Guantanamo prisoners, who were mainly seized in Afghanistan after the 2001 US invasion, as “enemy combatants.” They have been denied the prisoner-of-war status that would guarantee them certain rights under international law.
The new transfer reduces the number of men now held at the isolated US Naval Station in southeast Cuba to about 275, a decline of nearly a third in the last year.
One hundred and thirty-six of the 759 people detained at Guantanamo since 2002 have been Saudi, the second-largest group after Afghans.
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