Saudi Arabia re-arrests ex-Gitmo inmates


"An official statement has already been issued about the arrests," said Lt. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior. He added that citizens and residents who violate the Kingdom’s laws would be arrested.

The Ministry of Interior said the nine Saudi nationals had undergone a rehabilitation program and some of them were returnees from Guantanamo. Their arrests follow reports that a former Saudi detainee has rejoined Al-Qaeda as a key office bearer.

According to reports, two men, who had been released from the US prison camp and went through the rehabilitation program, recently surfaced in Yemen. One of the two former inmates, Abu Sufyan Al-Azdi Al-Shihri, prisoner No. 372, has been elevated to the senior ranks of Al-Qaeda in Yemen, said a US counterterrorism official quoted by several news agencies.

Al-Shihri has been shown in a video sitting with three other men before a flag of the Islamic State of Iraq, the front for Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Al-Shihri was transferred from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia in 2007. The other men in the video are identified as Abu Baseer Al-Wahayshi and Abu Hureira Qasm Al-Rimi (also known as Abu Hureira Al-Sana’ani).

The US Defense Department said that as many as 61 former Guantanamo detainees — about 11 percent of 520 detainees transferred from the detention center and released — are believed to have taken up arms against the US.

At its peak, there were 759 inmates at Guantanamo; the Pentagon has over the past seven years freed more than 500 of them. In May 2007 a Saudi prisoner at Guantanamo Bay died in an apparent suicide.

Until the end of last year, Saudi Arabia arrested more than 701 suspects of which 181 were released in a staggered schedule, while 520 remain in custody for having links to Al-Qaeda.

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