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US to continue sending Guantanamo detainees to Saudi Arabia: Pentagon

[JURIST] A spokesperson for the US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] said Monday that the US will not change its policy on the transfer of Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archives] detainees to Saudi Arabia, despite reports that two former prisoners have joined al Qaeda in Yemen. A US counterterrorism official has confirmed that two of the nine alumni of the Saudi rehabilitation program who have been arrested [NYT report] were in fact former Guantanamo prisoners, but this revelation is unlikely to affect the new policy of transferring detainees to Saudi Arabia for rehabilitation. The Saudi program, an effort to deprogram Islamic extremism [AP report], was designed with input from psychiatrists, sociologists, and Muslim clerics. The Saudi Minister of Interior [official website] reports that 218 men have completed the program [press release], with only nine being arrested again.

Last week, US President Barack Obama [official website] issued an executive order [text, PDF] to close the Guantanamo prison [JURIST report] in no more than one year. The policy shift has been hailed by human rights groups and international leaders [JURIST report], although this week's reports of Guantanamo recidivism may revive the debate.

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