Tim Reid and David Charter
Tuesday, Jan 27, 2009
President Obama’s plan to close Guantánamo Bay within a year appeared to be unravelling yesterday with the emergence of former inmates on terrorist websites, fierce opposition in the US and a lukewarm response to taking detainees from the European Union.
After signing an executive order last week to close the US military prison, Mr Obama has been confronted with myriad obstacles that are making his ambitious pledge look unrealistic.
David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, ruled out the prospect of Britain taking any more inmates, claiming that it had already made a significant contribution.
His announcement, at a meeting of EU foreign ministers, came as Saudi Arabia announced yesterday that it had rearrested nine Islamist militants, including former Guantánamo inmates released to the Kingdom who had undergone a re-education programme in Riyadh.
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Two other former detainees sent home to Saudi Arabia from the prison in November 2007 re-emerged over the weekend on a jihadist website, railing against Britain, the US and Israel and identifying themselves by their Guantánamo detainee numbers. One of the men who appeared on video was Said Ali al-Shihri, now the deputy leader of al-Qaeda’s Yemeni branch. He is suspected of involvement in a bombing at the US Embassy in the Yemeni capital Sanaa in September, which killed 16. “By Allah, imprisonment only increased our persistence in our principles for which we went out, did jihad for, and were imprisoned for,” al-Shihri said on the video. The other former inmate has been identified as Abu Hareth Muhammad al-Awfi, who is seen clutching an automatic rifle and a grenade.
This article was posted: Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at 11:21 am