ISSN 2330-717X

US Sends Two Guantanamo Prisoners To Bosnia And Montenegro

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By Rodolfo Toe and Dusica Tomovic

The US Justice Department on Thursday announced it had sent two released prisoners from the Guantanamo camp to Bosnia and Montenegro as they had nowhere to go. One had Bosnian citizenship, having fought there in the 1990s.

Tariq Al-Sawah and Abd al-Aziz Abduh Abdallah Ali Al-Suwaydi have been sent to Bosnia and Montenegro, US authorities said, given that neither could return safely to his country of origin – Egypt and Yemen.

Al Sawah was transferred to Bosnia.

“US authorities don’t consider it necessary to prolong the detention of Al Sawah in order to protect the security of the US,” a statement by the Pentagon reads.

Al Sawah was imprisoned in Guantanamo in May 2002, where he was transferred after having been captured in Afghanistan.

The US authorities suspected him of committing war crimes while he was a member of Al Qaeda.

As Al Sawah possesses Egyptian citizenship, Egypt has repeatedly sought his release. He also won Bosnian citizenship having fought for the Bosniak [Muslim] cause there in the Nineties.

“US authorities are thankful to the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina for their humanitarian gesture and their readiness to help the effort to close the Guantanamo prison. US authorities have coordinated with the Bosnian government to ensure a safe journey and the human treatment [of Al Swah]”, the Pentagon said.

The other former Guantanamo inmate, Abd al-Aziz Abduh Abdallah Ali Al-Suwaydi, was released to Montenegro.

According to the New York Times, Suwaydi is a 41-year-old Yemeni citizen who has been held in the prison for 13 years and eight months.

He was an al Qaeda member who was identified as an explosives trainer. After fleeing Afghanistan, he was captured trying to return to Yemen. He arrived at Guantanamo in May 2002.

The government in Podgorica on Thursday said that within the humanitarian program of providing assistance in solving the issue of closing the base in Guantanamo, Montenegro had agreed to take on the responsibilities of resocialisation of a Yemeni citizen.

It added that most European and neighbouring countries are taking part in the program, including Germany, Italy, Russia, Hungary and Slovakia.

The US coordinated with Montenegro to ensure the transfer took place and said it was grateful to Montenegro for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay facility.

According to US authorities, 91 persons are still imprisoned in Guantanamo.

Balkan Insight

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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