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US transfers 16 Guantanamo detainees to Saudi Arabian custody

[JURIST] The US Defense Department announced Monday that 16 detainees have been transferred to Saudi Arabia [press release] from Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] Monday, bringing the total of repatriated Saudi detainees up to 77. The 16 will remain in custody pending Saudi investigations into whether they were linked to prohibited militant organizations. Saudi Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki told the Saudi Press Agency [media website] that another 53 Saudi Arabian nationals remain detained at Guantanamo Bay.

Last June, Saudi Interior Ministry officials urged the release and transfer of all Saudi prisoners [JURIST report] from the military detention facility after the suicide death of two Saudi nationals [JURIST report]. In June 2007, a third Saudi detainee died in an apparent suicide [JURIST report]. The US military says that with the latest transfer of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, approximately 360 detainees are still in custody. Approximately 80 of those detainees have been deemed eligible for release or transfer. Last Friday, a group of six Democratic senators urged Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to take more steps to ensure detainees transferred out of Guantanamo Bay will not be subjected to torture [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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