KUWAIT CITY (AFP) – A Kuwaiti court on Saturday acquitted two former Guantanamo Bay inmates on charges of fighting US forces in Afghanistan under Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
The court acquitted Kuwaitis Omar Rajab Amin and Abdullah Kamel al-Kundari because of lack of evidence.
The public prosecutor in Kuwait, a staunch ally of the United States, had charged them with endangering the emirate’s ties with friendly nations by joining Al-Qaeda and Taliban to fight US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
The verdict is not final as the government can challenge it before the courts of appeals and cassation.
The two men, held since being repatriated on September 15, told the court they had gone to Afghanistan to do charity work and denied belonging to a terror network. They will now be set free.
Defence lawyers told the court last month that the Kuwaiti charges were based entirely on US and Pakistani intelligence.
Amin and Kundari are among eight Kuwaitis so far repatriated from the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Four other Kuwaitis are still being held there.
One of the six others has been acquitted by the supreme court while the remaining five have been cleared by the lower criminal and appeals courts but are still awaiting the supreme court’s verdict.
About 455 people are currently held at the Guantanamo Bay naval base where the US has detained and interrogated 750 prisoners since early 2002 in its “war on terror” after the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.