Government refuses US Guantanamo trials of Yemeni nationals:Military trial rejected [Archives:2003/658/Front Page]

August 11 2003

Reuters & Yemen Times Staff
Sana'a, August 9 – the Yemeni government renewed its rejection of subjecting Yemeni nationals held in the US base of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to a military trial.
In an exclusive interview to Yemen Times, Dr. Abubakr Al-Qirbi stressed on Yemen's position in refusing the trial of Yemeni nationals in any military court under any conditions.
“Yemen is demanding that all Yemeni prisoners in Guantanamo be treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention. None of them should be tried in any military court.” Dr. Al-Qirbi said.
“Our demand, which is the same of many other countries, whose nationals are held in Guantanamo, is to have those prisoners return to their countries to receive a fair trial there. This is also the demand of all human rights organizations worldwide.”
When asked whether the US has taken this demand seriously, Dr. Al-Qirbi replied, “The US government said that it would try 6 of those suspects in a military commission and appoint them lawyers. We don't think that those prisoners would be tried fairly, and we continue to insist that they should not be subject to any military trial…Yemen and other countries are putting pressure on the United States and asking it to hand over nationals accused of terrorism.”
Activists ask for more
Human rights activists in Yemen welcomed the government's rejection of military trial of its nationals, but are not confident that those efforts are enough to stop the trial. Opinion makers, lawyers, human rights activist, and other intellectuals contacted by the Yemen Times have praised the move by the Yemeni government and hoped it would be a step in a series of other steps to stop the trial of Yemeni suspects in a military court in Guantanamo and have them return to their country.
The Yemeni detainees are suspected Taliban and Al-Qaeda prisoners captured following the collapse of the regime in Afghanistan.
In this regard, prominent loawyer and human rights activisit Khaled Al-Anisi said, “This is a perfect step that we value and agree with. This is in conformity with Yemen's constitution that stipulates forbidding handing over of Yemeni suspects to other countries for trial.””