RIYADH (AP) – Fifty-five Saudi Arabians who were released recently from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba will receive about US$2,600 each to celebrate the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, a Saudi newspaper reported Saturday.
Saudi Interior Minister Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz has granted the ex-Guantanamo prisoners temporarily release from detention centers in Saudi Arabia to spend time with their families during the holiday later this month, the Okaz newspaper reported.
The former Guantanamo detainees will return to police custody after the holiday in mid-October and will be referred to Saudi courts at end of this month for upcoming trials, the paper said.
U.S. authorities transferred 16 Saudis from Guantanamo Bay back to Saudi Arabia in September, the latest transfer of prisoners from the U.S. detention facility. Fewer than 40 Saudi detainees remain in detention.
The detention of Saudis at the U.S. Naval Base in southeast Cuba has been a source of tension with Riyadh, a close U.S. ally. Three Saudis have committed suicide inside the prison camp since it opened in 2002, according to the U.S. military.
Of the 759 people who have been held at Guantanamo, 136 have been Saudis, the second-largest group behind Afghan nationals, according to Defense Department documents released to the AP.
About 340 detainees remain in Guantanamo on suspicion of links to terrorism, al Qaeda or the Taliban. Most have been held for years without being charged.