Thursday, August 09, 2007

Last Bahraini Guantanamo detainee returns home

Last Bahraini Guantanamo detainee returns home

MANAMA (Reuters) - The last Bahraini detainee at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay has returned home after being released by U.S. authorities, Bahrain's foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa named the freed man as Isa al-Murbati and said the release of the detainees had been among the Gulf Arab state's top priorities in contacts with Washington, state news agency BNA reported.

Murbati, 41 and the father of five, had been held without charge for more than five years, Bahraini media said.

Five Bahraini Guantanamo detainees, one a member of the small island kingdom's royal family, were released earlier from the military prison which holds suspected Taliban and al Qaeda members detained after the 2001 U.S.-led war to oust the Taliban from Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks.

Pro-Western Bahrain hosts the headquarters of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet.

The United States has faced international criticism over its indefinite detention of Guantanamo detainees, many held for more than five years without charge.