Yemen has received four more of its citizens who were detained in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, bringing the total number of Yemeni men released thus far to 12, security sources said Wednesday.The security sources confirmed the arrival of the four Yemenis in the capital of Sana’a late Tuesday, June 19th, 2007.
“We received Hani Abdu Shu’alan, Ali Saleh, Fawaz Noman Hamoud, and Sadeq Mohammed Saeed only late last night,” a security official, who preferred not to be named, told the Yemen Observer Wednesday. The official said the men would be released home after “taking some procedures first.” He declined to say how long these procedures would take.
Three of the four men were among the Yemeni detainees who met with the Yemen security delegation that visited Guantanamo last year, according to the official. The families of the men are very eager to see their sons, who have been languishing in detention thousands of miles away from them for more than five years. “We cannot believe that they are here, until after we see them with our eyes,” Abdul Salam, brother of Sadeq Mohammed Saeed, told the Yemen Observer over the phone from Aden.
“Praise be to God, Praise be to God, it’s great news, I cannot thank you enough, I’m going to tell his mother now, she will die of joy and tears of joy,” the aged man, Mohammmed Saeed, father of Sadeq, said over the phone from Ibb, where the Sadeq family lives.
“But we want to see him, where is he now, I want see him to make sure he is my son,” he added. To this end, an American lawyer who represents 17 Yemeni detainees in Guantanamo, including one of the four released, confirmed that he had received a note that one of his Yemeni clients was handed over to Yemen Tuesday.
“The United States has relinquished custody of the petitioner Sadeq Mohammed Said (ISN 069) and transferred him to the control of the Government of Yemen,” the American lawyer David Remes said from Washington on Wednesday. Remes, of the American law firm, Covington and Burling LLP, who represents Saqed Mohammed Said along with sixteen more Yemenis, also said that the second man of the four Yemeni released was Fawaz Naman Hamoud (ISN 678).
However, Remes, did not represent Fawaz, whose family is living now in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. “Fawaz’s family lives in Saudi Arabia. We don’t know what village in Yemen they are from, or whether Fawaz was living in Yemen or with his family in Saudi Arabia,” Remes said. He did not know anything about the other two detainees who were released.
With the arrival of these four Yemeni detainees in Yemen, the number of Yemenis released from Guantanamo so far has climbed to 12 of the 107 Yemeni detainees. The eight previously released have already returned home, after spending various periods in Yemeni intelligence jails.
The US Department of Defense announced Tuesday the transfer of six detainees from Guantanamo detention.
“Two detainees were transferred to Tunisia and four detainees were transferred to Yemen,” the website of the department said. These detainees were determined to be eligible for transfer following a comprehensive series of review processes at Guantanamo Bay, it added.
According the same website, approximately 80 detainees remain at Guantanamo whom the U.S. government has determined eligible for transfer or release. Departure of these remaining detainees is subject to ongoing discussions between the United States and other nations.
Since 2002, approximately 405 detainees have departed Guantanamo for other countries including Albania, Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uganda, the United Kingdom, and Yemen. Approximately 375 detainees remain at Guantanamo.