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Three Kazakhs Released From Guantanamo Prison

Published: December 26, 2006 (Issue # 1233)


ALMATY, Kazakhstan — Three Kazakhs released from the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay have returned home, an official said Thursday.

The three men were among 18 Guantanamo detainees repatriated by the U.S. military over the weekend to Afghanistan, Yemen, Kazakhstan, Libya and Bangladesh, the Pentagon said.

The three Kazakhs arrived in their homeland Saturday and were met by relatives who took them home, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ilyas Omarov said.

Omarov said the three would not face investigation and charges “because their release means that they had been cleared of all suspicions of having terror links.” He gave no further details.

Omarov said the Kazakh government was working on the release of the fourth and last Kazakh citizen who has been held at Guantanamo after being captured in Afghanistan during the U.S.-led anti-terror operations there.

About 50 percent of Kazakhstan’s population are Muslims. Unlike its Central Asian neighbors, which are poorer and have predominantly Muslim populations, Kazakhstan has been little affected by a rise of radical Islam in the region since the 1991 Soviet collapse.

Three other ex-Soviet Central Asian countries, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, border Afghanistan.

The region’s most radical Islamic group, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, was linked to al-Qaida and had training camps in Afghanistan. The IMU is believed to have been broken as an organized force during U.S.-led coalition bombings of Afghanistan in 2001.

Among 759 people who have been held over the years at Guantanamo, there also were 12 Tajiks and seven Uzbeks, according to U.S. Defense Department documents.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Dec. 19


Test your mastery of parlor games during Game Evening at the British Book Center. Learn how to play a variety of classic, mentally challenging games and use your newly acquired skills to crush weaker opponents. The event beings at 5 p.m.



Saturday, Dec. 20


The city’s Babushkina Park on Prospekt Obukhovskoy Oborony will be invaded by dozens of rocking-and-rolling Santa Clauses during today’s Santa Claus Parade. Not only will they parade through the park but there will also be competitions amongst the festively-clad participants and a musical master class. There will also be a prize for the best-dressed Santa Claus.


Stock up your record collection during the Vinyl Christmas Sale at the KL10TCH bar on Konyushennaya ploschad today. Spend the afternoon perusing the records for sale while listening the classic, clean sound of records spinning out hits from a variety of musical genres and time periods.



Sunday, Dec. 21


The Zenit St. Petersburg basketball team returns to the northern capital this evening for a matchup with Krasny Oktyabr, a Volgograd-based basketball club. Tickets for the game, which tips off at 6 p.m. this evening, can be purchased on the club’s website or at their arena, Sibur Arena, on Krestovsky island.


Satisfy your sugar cravings during Sweet New Year, an ongoing seasonal festival at the Raduga shopping center. Each weekend of December will welcome hungry visitors to taste hundreds of different kinds of desserts made from a plethora of sweet treats. Workshops are open to visitors and seasonal gifts can also be purchased for those rushing to finish their New Year shopping.



Monday, Dec. 22


Pick out the latest fashions as holiday gifts for loved ones or as early presents for yourself during the Christmas Design Sale at Kraft on Obvodny Kanal, starting on Dec. 20 and continuing through Dec. 27. Designer clothes will be on sale every day of the week or you can buy something more festive to decorate the home while sipping on hot coffee and perusing the various master classes.



Tuesday, Dec. 23


Meet Arctic explorers Fedor Konukhov and Viktor Simonov during SPIBA’s and Capital Legal Service’s event “Arctic Expedition” this morning in the Mertens House business center at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. The meeting will discuss the explorers’ ongoing eco-social project and how companies can use the project as a unique marketing opportunity. Email office@spiba.ru by Dec. 22 if you wish to attend.



Wednesday, Dec. 24


The Anglican Church of St. Petersburg we will be holding a Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. led by Rev Wm. Shepley Curtis of the Episcopal Church. The service will be held at the Swedish Church at 1/3 Malaya Konyushennaya Ulitsa.



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