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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

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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