Yemen Says Gitmo Prisoners Coming Home
By VOA News
24 January 2009
Yemen's president says his country is preparing to take back 94 Yemeni prisoners from the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh told Yemeni security officials Saturday the U.S. will release the prisoners within the next three months, and promised to make sure they do not escape and rejoin extremists groups.
U.S. President Barack Obama signed an order Thursday to close the controversial facility within one year, but there are questions about what to do with the terrorists suspects still held there.
Earlier this week, two men claiming to be former prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay facility appeared on a video tape, claiming they had rejoined al-Qaida and are now senior militant officials in Yemen.
Pakistan's foreign ministry Saturday expressed support for the U.S. decision to shut the center, saying it adds what it called a "much needed moral dimension in dealing with terrorism."
According to a list compiled by the Washington Post, there are currently six Pakistani nationals being held at Guantanamo. They include top suspects accused of planning the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.
Meantime, Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi says his government is seeking permission to meet with two Malaysians held at Guantanamo, and to have them serve their sentences in their home country. He also praised the decision to shut the facility.
Some U.S. lawmakers have voiced concerns that shutting Guantanamo may allow some dangerous detainees to be set free.
The U.S. Defense Department says as many as 61 former Guantanamo prisoners have returned to terrorism. On Friday, U.S. security officials confirmed that a man released from the facility in late 2007 has become the deputy leader of al-Qaida's branch in Yemen.
Mr. Obama has ordered a review of all 245 detainees at the center, to decide how to prosecute those that may have committed crimes.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.
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