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U.S. transfers 20 more prisoners to Afghan custody
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Confusion Clouds Guantanamo Tribunals
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February 6, 2008
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Email from Atty. David J. Cynamon to Captain Frank Sweigart, Director of the Office for the Administrative Review of Detained Enemy Combatants (OARDEC)

September 19, 2007

Dear Captain Sweigart:

I represent the remaining four Kuwaiti citizens detained at Guantanamo: ISNs 213, 232, 551 and 552. I would like to schedule a meeting with you, and with any other officials whom you deem appropriate, in follow-up to meetings I have previously had with John Bellinger, Legal Advisor at State, and other officials at State and the Department of Justice, to discuss the conditions under which these four prisoners can be returned
to Kuwait, as have eight of the original 12 Kuwaiti detainees.

We understand that the U.S. Government wishes to repatriate detainees to their home countries under adequate assurances and conditions and that the Government of Kuwait has in fact complied with such assurances and conditions with respect to the eight Kuwaitis previously returned. We would like assist in trying to expedite that process with respect to the remaining four. 

It is apparent that the U.S. government is picking up the pace of repatriations. 16 Saudis were recently released,  even though most of them had not previously been listed as "eligible for release." The government also recently repatriated a detainee, against his will, to Tunisia, where he has been imprisoned and tortured, exactly as his attorney had warned.  As you know, Kuwait is a trusted and faithful ally of the U.S. Yet four of its citizens remain imprisoned at Guantanamo.

We have been told that the remaining four Kuwaitis are deemed particularly dangerous. However, we understand that the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister asked the National Security Adviser, Stephen Hadley, for a report detailing the reasons for that determination, and that no such report has ever been provided. In that regard, I am attaching a chart that compares the allegations against the four remaining detainees with the allegations against the eight who have been previously released. I find it impossible to deduce from this chart that the four who remain are any more (or less) dangerous than the ones who were returned. While this chart is based on the unclassified evidence, I would be happy to discuss at our meeting, in an appropriate location, whether and to what extent the classified evidence would affect this chart.

Since any detainee who is deemed dangerous to the US is at least as dangerous, if not more so, to Kuwait, and Kuwait therefore has every incentive to take steps to neutralize any such perceived danger, we have mutual and compatible objectives. In that regard, I have also attached a fact sheet with respect to each of the eight previously returned Kuwaitis, which summarizes his post-return status.  As you will see, each of the returned detainees has been interrogated, charged, tried and ultimately acquitted of charges.  Each is back with his family and trying to move on with his life. None has "returned to the battlefield."

I hope that we can arrange a meeting as soon as possible to discuss these issues. Given the U.S. Government's stated position that it hopes to reduce the detainee population by returning prisoners to
countries willing to take them, and given the Kuwaiti government's proven willingness, indeed desire, to be a full and responsible partner in the repatriation of its citizens, it is in no one's interest to drag this matter out unnecessarily due to misunderstandings.

Accordingly, while I, of course, am not privy to all of the details, it is apparent that ongoing government-to- government discussions have not to this point led to any resolution of the return of any of the remaining four. As U.S. lawyers for the Kuwaitis, we have access to Kuwaiti government officials, and we may be able to convey, clarify or help bridge differences in the terms of return of the Kuwaitis.

In any event, I do hope you will respond to my email promptly and give me the courtesy of a meeting as requested.

Thank you

David J. Cynamon

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