US returns 10 Guantanamo prisoners to Saudi Arabia

US agrees to free men with understanding that Saudis will mitigate risk of inmates posing a terrorist threat.

Guantanamo Bay 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Guantanamo Bay 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
The US military has returned 10 Saudi detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison to their home country, a Pentagon spokesman said Friday. The transfer cuts the number of men now held at the isolated US Naval station in southeast Cuba to about 275, a decline of nearly a third in the last year. About 136 of the 759 people detained at Guantanamo since 2002 have been Saudi, the second-largest group after Afghans. The vast majority have been repatriated - despite the fact that more than 90 percent are still considered a terrorist threat. The US agreed to return the men with the understanding that Saudi Arabia will mitigate that risk, partly through a state program to reintegrate former detainees into civilian life, said Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, a Defense Department spokesman. Their detention has been a source of strain with Riyadh, a close US ally. "We will continue to work with the international community in our efforts to further reduce the population at Guantanamo, while at the same time taking prudent measures designed to protect the public," Gordon said. Three Saudis have committed suicide inside the camp, which holds foreigners suspected of links to terrorism, al-Qaida and the Taliban.