May 21, 2006

Kuwait court acquits ex-Guantanamo Qaeda detainees

KUWAIT (Reuters) - A Kuwaiti court on Sunday cleared five
Kuwaitis of charges of belonging to al Qaeda and ordered the
former inmates of the U.S.'s Guantanamo Bay prison freed
immediately, judicial sources said.

They said the five, who returned to the Gulf Arab state in
November, were also cleared of charges of fighting a friendly
state, a reference to the United States.

"The Criminal Court ruled today that the five detainees who
were held at Guantanamo are innocent and it ordered that they
be set free immediately," one judicial source said.

The prosecution plans to appeal the ruling, the sources

Adel al-Zamel, Saad al-Azmi, Mohammad al-Daihani, Abdullah
al-Ajmi and Abdulaziz al-Shimmari were among some 500 prisoners
held at Guantanamo Bay since the 2001 U.S.-led war that ousted
Afghanistan's Taliban rulers following the September 11 attacks
on the United States.

"This ruling underscores what we were sure of all along,
that our sons are innocent," Khaled al-Odah, head of a
detainees support committee, told Reuters after the verdict.

"They have been imprisoned unjustly for years at the
American base and there's a stark breach of international and
humanitarian laws by the American administration," he added.

Kuwait, a staunch U.S. ally, is a main transit route for
American forces going to Iraq. It was a launch pad for the 2003
war on Iraq and up to 25,000 troops are based here.