By Fateeha Zamamoush
ALGIERS, Jan 22 (KUNA) -- Algerian authorities received two inmates who
were freed from the US Guantanamo detention camp bringing the total number of
Algerians set free from this camp to 19.
The release of the two prisoners was confirmed by the US Justice Department
that said in a statement the two Algerians, Hasan Zemiri and Adil Hadi
al-Jazairi bin Hamlili, were sent back to Algeria.
The official US statement said the US authorities coordinated with the
Algerian government the operation of sending the two natives back home amid
security precautions. But there was no official word regarding the date and
means of the release of the two inmates.
A diplomat at the Algerian Foreign Ministry, contacted by the Kuwaiti News
Agency (KUNA), declined from revealing further details on the operation,
noting that the Algiers Government has been following up on the file of the
Algerian detainees in Guantanamo.
With this release, the number of the Algerians who have remained behind
bars at the heavily-guarded detention center stands at eight, and the total
number of the detainees who have remained there amounts to 196.
Guantanamo Bay is an American detainment facility located in Cuba. The
facility is operated by the Joint Task Force Guantanamo of the United States
government since 2002 in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, which is on the shore of
Guantnamo Bay, Cuba.
The US, on July 2, 2008, released the Algerians, Sufian Hdarbash and
Mustafa Hamlil, and freed Abedilli Faghoul and Trari Mohammed on the 25th of
July the same year. On October 10, 2008, it freed another Algerian. Later in
the year, one Algerian was also set free.
Algeria declared, on September 30, its readiness to host all Algerians who
might be freed from Guantanamo.
The government has referred four of the former inmates to the judicial
authorities on charges of involvement in terrorism. Two of them, Faghoul and
Mohammad, were acquitted of such charges by the Criminal Court on November 22,
2009. The court, on January 6, adjourned cross-examination into a similar case
involving two other former inmates, Hadarbash and Hamleel.
The same tribunal, at a session held on November 9, sentenced in absentia
the former Guantanamo inmate, Ahmad Belbasha, to 20 years behind bars. The
latter had refused his release and favored staying in prison in the hope that
a third country might grant him asylum.
The total number of the inmates at the Cuban detention complex had dwindled
from 250 to 196, when Barack Obama took office as president of the US nearly a
year ago. Obama promised to shut down the camp in January 2010, but he could
not honor the pledge due to various reasons and factors related to the destiny
of the freed inmates.
Republican senators, on Thursday, presented a bill to the Congress barring
transfer of the released inmates to states listed by the US as terrorist
states, and compelling host countries to ensure that the former activists
would not resume terrorist action. (end)
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