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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

Tuesday, Jan. 27


Observe the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.



Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.





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