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Algerians in Guantanamo Could Return Home Soon

Published: February 29, 2008 (Issue # 1352)


ALGIERS The United States may soon sign an agreement with Algeria on the possible return home of Algerian prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, the official Algerian APS news agency reported Wednesday.

Visiting Assistant U.S. Secretary of State David Welch told Algerian reporters that Washington hoped to conclude soon an accord with Algeria on the issue, APS reported.

Algerian newspapers have said there are believed to be between 17 and 25 Algerians held at the facility on Cuba.

U.S. President George W. Bush has said he would like to close the camp, which holds about 275 detainees and he calls a necessary tool in the war on terrorism.

Human rights groups and foreign governments have said holding suspects for years without trial violates basic international legal standards.

The question is to know if we have prisoners who ought to be prosecuted, APS quoted Welch as saying. Even if that is not the case, that does not mean that they are not dangerous.

We want to send prisoners back to their countries of origin, but we must assure ourselves that they do not represent a danger, because we have seen examples of prisoners returning to their countries and who were later released.

U.S. officials say some governments will not take custody of their citizens held at Guantanamo, others would not treat their citizens humanely and still others are not willing to provide security guarantees Washington believes are necessary.

Algerian President Bouteflika offered an amnesty for Islamist rebels in 2006 as part of a reconciliation policy aimed at ending years of violence in the north African country.

As part of the reconciliation drive he authorized the release from jail of more than 2,000 former members of an Islamist armed rebellion that aims to overthrow the government.

Algerian newspapers say some of the released former fighters rejoined the rebellion after they were freed and have taken part in attacks on government targets in recent months.





 

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although the Peter and Paul Fortress sand sculptures are more central and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today. The World Collection of Sand Sculptures that have been on display at the park reaches its final day, so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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