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Delegation to Visit Kuwaitis Held in Guantanamo Bay - 2002-08-13

A delegation from Kuwait has left Tuesday for the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to visit a group of Kuwaitis being held on suspicion of having ties to the al-Qaida terror group.

The delegation of three security officials is carrying, among other things, letters, clothes, taped messages, books, and even mixed nuts from the relatives of the 12 Kuwaitis being detained.

Kuwaiti officials say the security officers will identify and question the detainees and will be briefed on the U.S. investigation.

Relatives say the detainees are not members of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network and insist they were performing humanitarian work in Afghanistan when they were arrested.

President Bush has accused al-Qaida of being responsible for the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

The families had appealed to a U.S. court in Washington for their loved ones to be freed or given access to attorneys, but their suit was rejected. The U.S. government argues the detainees are enemy combatants without such rights.

Kuwait has waited several months to get U.S. clearance to send the delegation. Officials from Yemen, Bahrain, Spain, Denmark, France, and several other countries have already visited their detainees in Guantanamo Bay.