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Court Papers Reveal First Comments by Kuwaiti Detainees in Three Years; Unjustly Accused Finally Speak

Kuwait City, November 4, 2004 – For the first time in more than three years, Kuwaiti detainees who have been illegally imprisoned by the U.S. Government at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have spoken out.

Recent filings in a Washington, D.C. Federal Court detail the plight of at least two of the 12 Kuwaiti detainees. Initially portrayed as violent and a threat to America, increased communications and transparency have now made it clear that these Kuwaitis were taken into custody after being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Allegations that they were tortured into confessing about ties to known terrorist groups and that their testimony was mistranslated by U.S. military translators are increasingly widespread.

“These court papers are the first crack of daylight we’ve seen after more than 1,000 days of misery – and it gives us all hope that the truth will finally prevail,” Khalid Al-Odah, father of detainee Fawzi Al-Odah, and head of the Kuwaiti Family Committee said. “Coupled with the June 2004 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, these disclosures move us a step closer to the day that our sons, brothers, and loved ones will finally be either charged with a crime or set free.”

In addition to shedding light on the weaknesses in the government’s case, the court papers have put human faces on what had previously been anonymous detainees.

As it turns out, Abdullah Kamal Abdullah Kamal Al Kandari, a Kuwaiti Ministry of Electricity and Water employee and member of Kuwait's national volleyball team, is being held because the U.S. military found him wearing a Casio watch.

“If I had known, I would have thrown the watch away,” Al Kandari, 31, said referring to the allegation that the same type of digital watch has been worn by terrorists. Al Kandari said that he was captured after he went to Afghanistan after the September 11th attacks to help the poor.

For more information on the Kuwaiti detainees, see .

U.S. Defense Department officials have acknowledged that the Kuwaitis and at least one-third of the detainees at Guantanamo are innocent. The Kuwaiti Family Committee is committed to attaining justice for the detainees. The group was heartened by the announcement in mid-September by Secretary of State Colin Powell that one of the detainees will soon be released to the custody of Kuwait. So far, however, the U.S. government has not identified that individual or committed to a date for his release.

This press release is distributed by Levick Strategic Communications on behalf of the International Counsel Bureau. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

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Kuwaiti Family Committee Contact:
Khalid Al-Odah
Tel. (Kuwait) 011-965-905-6115
Email: KH@kuwaitidetainees.org

U.S. News Media Coordinator
Gene Grabowski
Tel. 202-973-1351
Email: ggrabowski@levick.com

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