Yemeni Gitmo detainees not to return yet [Archives:2008/1140/Local News]

March 24 2008

Amel Al-Ariqi
SANA'A, March 23 ) Contradicting to official Yemeni media, the Yemeni government denied making an official request for the release of thirteen Yemenis detained in Guantanamo Bay Prison.

Currently more than one-third of the prisoners at Guantanamo are from Yemen. Most have been detained without any charge and in brutal conditions for over six years; however, their return to Yemen remains questionable.

“The Yemeni government – through the foreigner ministry- always demands the release of all the Yemeni detainees at Gitmo, but we haven't recently asked the U.S government to release the thirteen Yemenis in question” said Khaled Al-Akwa, deputy Foreign Minister.

The Yemeni Defense Ministry website said on Saturday that 13 Yemeni detainees in Guantanamo will arrive to Yemen in the coming days while others will be following in groups. It website reported that the release comes as a response to a recent official request made by the Yemeni government. In return, Yemen promised to try and imprison any of the returned detainees if proved to be involved in terrorist acts or violence.

However, Marc Falkoff who is an American lawyer representing 16 Yemenis detained in Guantanamo acused Yemen of not acting up to its words in this issue.

“We have heard many times over the years that the Yemeni government has “requested”” or “”demanded”” that their citizens be returned home from Guantanamo