3 Gitmo Inmates Arrive In Kingdom

RIYADH, 21 July 2005 — The United States has handed over three Saudi citizens who were held at the US detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Interior said here yesterday.

The three men, among 520 inmates — which included 124 Saudis — detained at the camp since the US-led war in Afghanistan, have arrived in the Kingdom, the ministry said in a statement.

The statement said that the Saudi government was exerting “continued efforts” to repatriate all its citizens detained abroad and “appreciates the US authorities’ cooperation” in this regard. “The families of the Saudi citizens have been notified of their arrival in the Kingdom. Legal measures concerning them will be completed,” the ministry said.

US authorities last repatriated five Saudis from Guantanamo in May 2003. The latest repatriation leaves 121 Saudis at the camp.

A member of the detainees’ defense team said last week that Saudi lawyers had met US counterparts who could defend those still being held in case of a trial in the US.

The lawyer, Kateb Al-Shammari, said that the detainees would most probably be released “as a result of a political decision following the contacts between Saudi and US authorities.”

The Saudi lawyers are, at the same time, preparing the legal groundwork in case the detainees appear before US courts, although they believe that the detainees will be freed through political agreements.

In another development, a security advisory issued by the American Embassy here yesterday has asked all US citizens living in Saudi Arabia to exercise maximum security precautions and maintain a high level of vigilance while moving from one place to another.

This new warden’s message has warned all American citizens to monitor their security keeping in view the fact that the US Embassy has received “indications of operational planning for a terrorist attack or attacks in the Kingdom.”

Andrew Mitchell, a spokesman of the US Embassy, confirmed the issuance of this new advisory here yesterday. Mitchell, however, said: “This is only a warden message issued by the local US Embassy for the safety and security of American citizens, not a travel warning (which is more serious) issued by the US State Department.” The US Embassy, however, has no specific information concerning “timing, target or method of any possible attack(s) in Saudi Arabia,” says the advisory.

Asked about any new security advisory issued by the British Embassy, Barrie Peach, an embassy spokesman said: “The advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment, but the overall level of the advice has not changed.” “So, there is no new security message nor any change in the level of warning,” said Peach.

The Canadian Embassy has also not revised its security advisory, said Andrew Turner, a spokesman of the embassy here. Turner said: “The Canadian Embassy will update its advisory on Wednesday evening or Thursday, but the level will not be raised.”

Meanwhile, Saudi security forces uncovered a militant hide-out filled with bombmaking materials in Al-Kharj, south of Riyadh, on Tuesday, the Interior Ministry said. It said the cache included 1,900 kg of fertilizer, 125 kg of ammonium nitrate, aluminum powder, potassium nitrate and other chemicals used by suspected Al-Qaeda militants to make bombs in their two-year wave of attacks against Saudi Arabia.

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