11 ex-Gitmo prisoners on Saudi wanted list

Feb. 4, 2009 at 8:18 AM
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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Eleven Saudis released from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are on a list of 85 wanted terrorism suspects made public by the Saudi Interior Ministry, officials said.

Saudi officials said the 11 former Guantanamo Bay detainees underwent a Saudi rehabilitation program for former jihadists and are thought to have fled the country, joining terrorist groups elsewhere, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

The 11 former detainees include two already identified as members of a Yemeni terrorist group.

The 85-name list made public Tuesday is the largest list Saudi officials have released yet, the Times said. All but two of the wanted suspects are Saudis. Officials also appealed for the men to turn themselves into authorities.

"They will, of course, be interviewed and investigated and prosecuted for any crimes they may have committed," said Gen. Mansour al-Turki, an interior ministry spokesman. "But by turning themselves in before committing any crime, they will have a better chance to be returned to their families."

Unclear was whether any of the 11 former Guantanamo Bay detainees participated in terrorist attacks, the Times said. U.S. counterterrorism officials have confirmed that Said Ali al-Shihri, a Saudi released from Guantanamo in November 2007, was the deputy leader of the Yemeni branch of al-Qaida and suspected of being involved in a deadly attack on the U.S. Embassy in Yemen last year.

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