100 Muslim extremists freed in Yemen denied [Archives:2007/1031/Local News]

March 8 2007

SANA'A, March 7 ) Yemen's Ministry of Interior has denied the authenticity of news reports that Yemeni security authorities have released 100 Muslim extremists.

A security source told the official news web site that such report by the Associated Press is groundless. “Those individuals Yemen has received from neighboring and friendly countries now are tried fairly. They include some who came from Guantanamo,” the official said, calling on all media outlets to be accurate and objective when reporting news.

On Monday, the AP reported that authorities released 100 jailed Muslim extremists, including some who allegedly fought for Al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to a security official, adding that some of those released had completed their sentences, while others were acquitted due to lack of evidence.

The official told the AP that the 100 prisoners' release had been carried out in stages, with the last freed in late February, and that 19 of the released had fought under the command of Al-Qaeda in Iraq's previous leader, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, prior to his death in a U.S. airstrike last June.

According to the AP news report, among the released were four Saudis, as well as members of a Yemeni extremist group – the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army – which kidnapped three Britons and an Australian in 1998. The tourists were killed in a botched rescue attempt by Yemeni security forces.