RIYADH (Reuters) -Saudi Arabia has released 9 former inmates of Guantanamo Bay where they were being held on suspicion of belonging to al Qaeda, an official said on Tuesday.
The United States this year sent 29 Saudis back home after negotiating a framework agreement with Saudi Arabia for the return of its citizens. Saudi officials had said they were reviewing whether they should face charges in their homeland.
“Nine of them have been released. They were investigated and we didn’t find any wrongdoing in relation to local laws,” said Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki.
“There is no evidence (against them),” he said, adding that there is no agreement with Washington obliging Saudi Arabia to keep them incarcerated. He gave no more details.
About 95 of the 450 men still held at Guantanamo are Saudi citizens and the government has said it hopes to bring all of them back within a year.
Many of the men held at the prison in Cuba were captured in Afghanistan in the U.S.-led war to oust the Taliban after al Qaeda carried out the September 11, 2001, attacks against U.S. cities.
Two Saudis are among 10 Guantanamo prisoners who have been charged with war crimes in a tribunal system which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down in June.
Public anger over the treatment of the Saudi detainees has been high. Two Saudis were among the three prisoners who hanged themselves in June at the controversial prison, which lies outside the jurisdiction of international law.
Many Saudis suspect they died from maltreatment.
The authorities have organized a wedding for one of the returnees and have supported the education of their children.