A group of prisoners held at the United States Guantanamo base on Cuba will be freed shortly after months in detention, Qatar's former justice minister Mohammad Najib al-Nauimi told AFP on Thursday.
"Some detainees from Guantanamo will be set free in the near future," said Nauimi, who heads a panel of lawyers defending the suspected members of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network or the Taliban .
Nauimi said he had just returned from the United States where he held numerous meetings, including at the Pentagon and was assured by US sources that some men were to be released soon, but, he refused to give any details.
Over 560 suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters from more than 30 countries are being held in Guantanamo where they have been transferred from Afghanistan or Pakistan following September 11.
They include up to 160 Saudis, 85 Yemenis, 12 Kuwaitis, 7 Bahrainis, up to seven Moroccans or Moroccans with double nationality and one Qatari, the lawyer said.
He added that another 245 suspected, mainly Arabs were being held in Afghanistan and up to 29 others in Pakistan.
"No clear charges have been brought against the detainees," Nauimi said, noting that US authorities consider the men to be under questioning. "I believe the prisoners have nothing to do with Al-Qaeda or the Taliban. They were arrested for being in the wrong place at the wrong time," he said, while calling upon Arab countries to cooperate with his panel.
Meanwhile, in Washington, a justice department source said Wednesday that the parents of Kuwaiti prisoners held at Guantanamo were suing for the right to see their sons, and for the prisoners to be given access to legal counsel.
The US government considers the detainees "illegal combatants," who may be judged by military courts, or held indefinitely for interrogation in the name of the war against terrorism.
The former minister and ten other lawyers, including US attorney general Ramsey Clark, formed an international committee to defend some of the detainees with the support of their families at the end of March. (Albawaba.com)
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