Asharq al-Awsat, Dammam – It has been made known to Asharq al-Awsat that American lawyers from the organization Amnesty International have volunteered to defend a number of Saudi detainees of Guantanamo Bay in American courts.
Ahmad Mazhar, the head of the Saudi team of lawyers responsible for the cases of the Saudi detainees of Guantanamo Bay told Asharq al-Awsat that his team were ready to defend the Saudi citizens in front of American courts in case negotiations between Riyadh and Washington fell through.
He also noted that negotiations between Riyadh and Saudi Arabia are still taking place and that the problem may be solved without having to resort to American courts. Mazhar further elaborated that his team would take all the necessary measures to defend the detained Saudis in American courts, and that they are already fully prepared for such action. The team had also cooperated with American law firms so that if they had to, the Americans would appeal in American courts, as such action is confined to American lawyers only. He added that such action would only be sought if official negotiations reached a deadlock.
In another context, Mazhar commented on press reports concerning the release of 40 Saudi prisoners in Guantanamo. He said, "(Unnamed) Official sources had promised the release of the Saudi prisoners from Guantanamo." He added that the release was expected to take place during the holy month of Ramadan but never occurred. He further added, "We are still waiting for their release especially considering the recent promises that have been made."
Mazhar affirmed that an international law conference would be launched on the 19 and 20 November in London, sponsored by Amnesty International to discuss the cases of the Saudi detainees. The conference will be attended by a number of human rights organizations.
Mazhar further stated that there have been great efforts exerted by Saudi authorities for the release of the detainees. Twenty-one Saudi prisoners were transferred to Guantanamo by American authorities after the American war in Afghanistan. Mazhar stated that a Saudi security delegation had visited the Guantanamo camp to discuss the status of each detainee there.
Mazhar added that American authorities had refused to allow Saudi lawyers to visit their defendants yet it had welcomed representatives of the Saudi military forces to visit Guantanamo.
Recently, eight prisoners of Guantanamo of Kuwaiti and Bahraini origin, were released, an achievement that sparked hope that Saudi detainees would also be released.
Guantanamo detainees Adel al-Zamel, Mohammad al-Daihani, Abdullah al-Ajmi, Saad al-Azmi and Abdulaziz al-Shemmari were returned to Kuwait upon their releases.