Saudi Gitmo detainees get gift
Star Talegram
The Associated Press
October 6, 2007

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- The Saudi Arabian government will temporarily release 55 prisoners recently transferred from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and will give each of them about $2,600 to celebrate the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, a newspaper reported Saturday.

Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz granted the temporary releases from detention centers in Saudi Arabia so the prisoners could spend time with their families during the holiday in mid-October, the Okaz newspaper reported.

They will return to police custody after the holiday 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 Cuba has been a source of tension with Riyadh, a close U.S. ally. Three Saudis have committed suicide inside the detention 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 Associated Press.

About 340 detainees remain in Guantanamo on suspicion of links to terrorism, al-Qaida or the Taliban. Most have been held for years without being charged.

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