US-Saudi prisoner deal?

The US last year returned five Guantanamo Bay suspects to Saudi Arabia under a secret three-way deal, reports the New York Times.

    Five Guantanamo detainees were returned to Saudi Arabia

    Citing unnamed US and British officials, the newspaper on its website on Saturday said the Saudi government later released under the same arrangement five Britons and two others who had been convicted of crimes in Saudi Arabia.

    The transfer of the five suspects from Guantanamo Bay was reportedly aimed at placating important allies in the invasion of Iraq.

    The move initially met with objections from officials at the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department.

    But the United States got promises from Saudi Arabia that the men would be kept in prison.

    Swapping prisoners

    The Saudi prisoners were transferred to Riyadh in May 2003.

    The five Britons and two other foreigners were freed subsequently in August.

    The prisoner 'swap' were public relations coups for the Saudi and British governments, which had been facing domestic criticism over the Iraq war, according to the Times.

    The paper said Sean McCormick, spokesman for the National Security Council, had denied that the Saudi detainees had been transferred in exchange for the Britons.

    "There is no recollection here of any linkage between these two actions," he said.

    Neither US nor Saudi officials would identify the five. One US official, however, said two of them had attended al-Qaida training camps in Afghanistan.

    Saudi officials gave contradictory accounts of the current whereabouts of the five men, saying at first that one or two of them had been released, then denying that any had been freed.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    No country in the world recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

    Canada: Attack on girl wearing hijab 'did not happen'

    Canada: Attack on girl wearing hijab 'did not happen'

    Toronto police announce hate crime investigation concluded after evidence shows cutting of girl's hijab didn't occur.

    New Boko Haram video purports to show Chibok girls

    Boko Haram video purports to show seized Chibok girls

    Girl appearing in footage says the abductees are safe, live g in comfort and do not want to be rescued.