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Algerian govt. remains tight-lipped on release of inmates, vows follow-up

(WITH MIL-US-GUANTANAMO-ALGERIA) 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) ft.rk KUNA 221540 Jan 10NNNN