Saudis agree to detain transferred Guantanamo inmates

Monday, April 5, 2004

Saudi Arabia has agreed to detain several Al Qaida insurgents transferred by the United States.

U.S. officials said the Saudi detention was a condition for the release of several Saudi nationals in U.S. custody since early 2002. The nationals had been held for nearly two years at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Officials said many of the Guantanamo detainees managed to conceal their activities in Taliban and Al Qaida camps in Afghanistan. They said that in the past, at least one instance a freed Guantanamo detainee rejoined Al Qaida and its war against the West.

The Saudi nationals were identified as low-level operatives of Al Qaida, Middle East Newsline reported. Officials said four Saudis had been transferred to Riyad for continued detention.

The Defense Department has begun releasing or transferring detainees from Guantanamo. So far, 146 detainees left the facility, most of them for freedom. About 30 others were transferred for continued detention in their native countries.

Currently, there are 595 detainees at Guantanamo. On Friday, the Pentagon said it transferred for release 15 detainees, including those from Iraq, Jordan, Turkey and Yemen.

"The decision to transfer or release a detainee is based on many factors, including whether the detainee is of further intelligence value to the United States and whether he is believed to pose a threat to the United States," a Pentagon statement said.

The Al Qaida detainees transferred to Jordan arrived as the kingdom seized a truck filled with explosives and searched for two other vehicles believed sent by Al Qaida. The official A-Rai daily reported on Friday that authorities have been questioning suspects under the command of Abu Mussib Al Zarqawi, regarded as the most lethal Islamic insurgent in Iraq.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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