Ex-Guantanamo detainees in detention [Archives:2007/1014/Local News]

January 8 2007

SANA'A, Jan.7 ) Five of recently released Guantanamo prisoners are still in custody, said a human right activist.

“The Yemeni security has released only one of the six men who were repatriated from Guantanamo Bay by American authorities. They are held in the National Security without any charges being brought against them,” said Khaled Al-Anisi, a lawyer and the executive director of the Yemeni National Organization for Defending Rights and Liberties, known as HOOD.

The six Yemeni detainees from Guantanamo were handed over to Yemen in December, they are now being held by Yemeni authorities to determine if they have any terror ties.

“They would be released if investigations showed that they were not involved in any terrorist acts,” stated a security official that time.

Al-Anisi confirmed that the security prevents any human activist or lawyer to visit the detainees.

However, HOOD could ascertain the identities of the six men, who are Esam Hamid Al-Jaefi, Ali Hussain Al-Tais, Mohammed Ahmed Al-Asadi, Tawfiq Al-Murwai and Muhassen Al-Asskari.

“We have sent a letter to the General Prosecution and another one to the National Security Organization, in which we demanded the immediate release of the men or put them on trail,” Al-Anisi said.

So far Yemen received eight nationals who were in Guantanamo prison and three otheres held in U.S. secret prisons, according to HOOD.

Even though they have been release Al-Anisi says the prisoners “are facing another Guantanamo” in their own country.

“They are put in jail for long time without any charges,” he noted

In 2005, Yemen received four Yemeni citizens from the Guantanamo prison and put them on trial. None were charged with terrorism-related activities. “We are not against investigation but we are against the illegal arrested,” commented Al-Anisi.

The Pentagon said in December the Guantanamo prison's population was now about 395 inmates, out of more than 770 who have been held there since the camp opened in January 2002.

According to a list received by the Yemeni government from U.S. about 106 Yemenis remain at Guantanamo. However lawyers and human activists say there could be about 150 Yemeni detainees in Guantanamo.

“Now Yemeni detainees form the biggest number in Guantanamo prison,” Al-Anisi confirmed. A study revealed that 95 percent of Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo, who were arrested in Afghanistan and Pakistan following the fall of the Taliban, have no Al-Qaeda links. The study said most Yemenis arrested were working as Quranic and Arabic language teachers in Afghanistan at a monthly salary of $100 for married teachers and half that for singles.

Through information obtained from Yemeni families and testimonies of Yemeni Guantanamo detainees, most detainees were arrested in Pakistan due to the $5,000 award offered by U.S. authorities to anyone reporting about those escaping into Pakistan from Afghanistan. This encouraged Pakistanis to inform U.S. authorities of any Arab national they discovered.