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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, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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