Ex-Guantánamo captives seek release in Kuwait


Omar Rajab Amin and Abdullah Kamel al-Kundari were released from the U.S. detention camp in September, but have since been detained for questioning and trial in their home country. At the start of trial earlier this month, they denied any terror connections.


”These are political, not criminal cases,” attorney Mubarak al-Shimmiri told the court. “After Sept. 11, every person involved in charity (work) in Afghanistan has been considered a terrorist.”


The prosecution claims the defendants have harmed Kuwait’s political image by becoming members of Osama bin Laden’s terror group and joining the ranks of Afghanistan’s ousted Taliban regime that hosted al Qaeda and fought U.S. forces.


After the September 2001 terror attacks in the United States, Washington gave its support to the Northern Alliance Forces in Afghanistan, which overthrew the Taliban regime.


Kuwait has been a major U.S. ally since the U.S.-led 1991 Gulf War that liberated it from a seven-month Iraqi occupation under Saddam Hussein.


”It is shameful that these men stay behind bars when there is no evidence to prove the accusations,” said Khaled al-Abdul-Jalil, another lawyer defending Amin, 41, and al-Kundari, 32.


The suspects listened quietly from behind the bars of the court’s deck.


The Kuwait criminal court is expected to hand down its ruling in the case of the two on March 3.


The U.S. military did not charge them with any crimes. According to military documents and David Cynamon, their attorney in Guantánamo, the two had ties to charities which were linked to terror groups and their names had been found on the hard drive of a computer seized from a suspected al-Qaida member.


But Cynamon has said the men only traveled to Afghanistan to help refugees from the country’s civil war and have no connection themselves to any terror groups.


Six other Kuwaitis, formerly held at the Guantánamo prison, have been acquitted here of terror charges. Another four are still imprisoned at the U.S. naval base in Cuba.


Scores of young Kuwaitis have fought alongside Muslim militants in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and Iraq.


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