Saudi Arabia receives 16 Guantanamo detainees


Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz said the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah is keen to free all detainees held at the controversial detention camp, the official news agency SPA quoted him as saying.

"Prince Nayef expressed his satisfaction with the level of cooperation that the US authorities are showing," said SPA. Citing Saudi officials, Al Arabiya television said there were 53 Saudis remaining at the prison.

Public anger over the treatment of Saudi detainees in Guantanamo has been high in the Gulf Arab state, a key US ally. Two Saudis were among three prisoners who hanged themselves in June at the prison.

Saudi Arabia has freed many of the 45 prisoners who were repatriated last year after they ended their terms in Saudi jails under a deal with Washington.

Many of the men held at Guantanamo were captured in Afghanistan in the US-led war to oust the Taleban after the September 11 attacks. Many have been held for years and nearly all are being held without charge.

Washington has designated Guantanamo prisoners "enemy combatants", denying them the prisoner of war status that would guarantee them certain rights under international law.


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