Riyadh, Asharq Al Awsat – The Saudi Ministry of Interior returned 28 of the 29 former detainees of Guantanamo Bay for the temporary period of 38 days on Tuesday. This came as a result of the new initiative adopted by the Saudi Ministry of Interior on September 21 in which the ministry negotiated a framework agreement that would enable the detainees to spend the month of Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr with their families in Saudi Arabia. Security investigators are currently expected to resume their investigations and questioning.
The initiative was implemented under the directives and supervision of Saudi Interior Minister, Prince Nayef Bin Abdulaziz. One of the detainees is currently being held in hospital to receive treatment for injuries and a pelvic fracture, which requires a short hospital stay, after being involved in a traffic accident. The hospital expenses and damages for the vehicle he was driving during the accident are being covered by the Ministry of Interior.
Fahd Bin Mohammed al Subaey told Asharq Al-Awsat, “The detainees were returned to prison last Monday after the Ministry of Interior allowed 29 prisoners to spend Ramadan outside confinement.” He added that the temporary release came after “the positive results witnessed by the authorities after granting detainees a one-week release period upon bail from Guantanamo Bay.”
At the end of last August, the Saudi minister of interior released five prisoners for a one week return to their homes and has future plans to repeat the procedure for another two groups of detainees. Prince Nayef issued his orders last September in light of these positive results, on the condition of their return to prison at the end of October to resume legal procedures.
The number of Saudi prisoners released from Guantanamo has risen to 38 whom Washington turned over to Riyadh in five groups; the last of which comprised of 15 Saudis, the largest group in the process of repatriation. The only exceptions are those convicted in aiding terrorism. After releasing the fifth group of Saudi prisoners, there remain a total of 91 Saudi detainees in Guantanamo from the original 450.
On a similar note, talks finally took place in Kuwait between Kadeer Awool Omar, the regional commissioner of the International Red Cross Society and Katib al-Shamari, the lawyer for the Saudi detainees in Guantanamo. Matters discussed included health and humanitarian issues, in addition to addressing the suspension of correspondence between the prisoners and their families. Al Shamari received reassurance from the international organization regarding its concern in monitoring and following up the status of defendants in Guantanamo.