News / USA

US Repatriates 2 Guantanamo Detainees to Saudi Arabia

The exterior of Camp Delta is seen at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, March 6, 2013.
The exterior of Camp Delta is seen at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, March 6, 2013.
Reuters
The United States has sent two detainees being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility back to their native Saudi Arabia, the Pentagon said on Monday, the latest push in a slow-moving effort towards eventually shuttering the prison.
 
The transfers of Saad Muhammad Husayn Qahtani and Hamood Abdulla Hamood lowered the prisoner population to 160 and follows the repatriation of two prisoners to Algeria earlier this month.
 
The Saudi detainees, who have been held at the Guantanamo facility in Cuba since 2002, were not charged with a crime.
 
The facility was set up to house foreigners suspected of acts of terrorism against the United States in the wake of the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, which killed nearly 3,000 people.
 
“The U.S. has made real progress in responsibly transferring Guantanamo detainees despite the burdensome legislative restrictions that have impeded our efforts,” Paul Lewis, the Pentagon's special envoy for the closure of the facility, said in a statement.
 
Obama had promised to shut down the Guantanamo Bay facility during his 2008 presidential campaign, saying it had damaged the reputation of the United States around the world.
 
But he has been unable to do so during nearly five years in office, in part because of resistance from Congress.
 
One of the Saudi detainees, Hamood, 48, was initially listed by the U.S. military as a Yemeni national, though his late father lived in Saudi Arabia.
 
U.S. military documents alleged he was an al-Qaida courier who fought on the front lines against U.S.-led forces near Bagram and fled to Pakistan. He was captured by Pakistani forces in a raid on a suspected al-Qaida safe house in February 2002.
 
Qahtani, 35, told U.S. investigators he was a student who went to Afghanistan in April 2001 to fight on the side of the Taliban. U.S. military documents say he was an al-Qaida member who volunteered to become a suicide bomber.
 
He fought against U.S. forces near Kabul then fled through the Tora Bora mountains into Pakistan, where he was captured in December 2001.
 
Separately news media in Sudan cited that country's foreign ministry as saying the last two Sudanese prisoners at Guantanamo would be sent home later this week.
 
The Pentagon confirmed earlier this month that one of them, Noor Uthman Muhammed, had finished a 34-month sentence on a conspiracy conviction and would be repatriated “as soon as practicable.”

You May Like

Gun Nation

This is who America's gun owners are More

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs