KUWAIT CITY, AP – A Kuwait criminal court on Sunday acquitted five former Guantanamo detainees of charges that they collected money for Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network.
The five were freed from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay in November but were arrested upon their return home to Kuwait and were charged with belonging to al-Qaida.
But on Sunday, a court found all five innocent of all charges, according to a ruling released to the media.
The defendants pleaded innocent when the trial opened in March. Their lawyers argued that there was no evidence to convict them and that Kuwaiti courts had no jurisdiction to try them because they had not done anything illegal in Kuwait.
Defense attorneys also told the tribunal that testimonies collected at Guantanamo Bay and provided by the United States could not be used in a Kuwaiti court because they did not have the signatures of the detainees or interrogators.
The defendants were charged with collecting money through Al-Wafa, an Afghan charity the U.S. military says helped finance al-Qaida. They were also accused of fighting alongside Afghanistan’s ousted Taliban regime that hosted the terror group.
The prosecution alleged that the men endangered their country’s “political standing” and its ties with friendly nations.
Six citizens of this oil-rich state, a key U.S. ally, are still held in Guantanamo.