For Immediate Release
January 16, 2005
Kuwaiti Prisoner Comes Home after Three-Years
at Guantanamo Bay
A Ray of Hope for Other Kuwaitis Wrongfully Detained by U.S.
Kuwait City, January 16, 2005 – Nasser Nijer Naser Al-Mutairi, a Kuwaiti national who was imprisoned at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, returned today to his home in Kuwait City after more than three years in captivity without being charged with any crime.
Al-Mutairi was deprived of due legal process during his three-year imprisonment even after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2004, that the prisoners at Guantanamo should either receive due process or be released. His release offers new hope for the families of prisoners that the Bush administration will begin complying with the Supreme Court ruling.
Al-Mutairi arrived in Kuwait City after being flown from Guantanamo in a Kuwaiti aircraft. His condition and other details are immediately unknown, but family members and others who will have seen him are to conduct a special media briefing about his case at the Kuwait Bar Association headquarters in Kuwait City this Sunday morning at 3:00 p.m. Kuwait time.
“We are overjoyed that Nasser is back home with his dear family,” said Khalid Al-Odah, head of the Kuwaiti Family Committee and father of Guantanamo prisoner Fawzi Al-Odah. “It’s hard to put into words what he and his family have been through these past three years. Now we are praying that the Bush administration will either bring to trial or free the 11 other loved ones who are being held without their legal rights in Guantanamo.”
Al-Mutairi, 28, worked as an administrative clerk at the Ministry of Education in Kuwait.
He was also a missionary representing the apolitical Tableeghi sect of Islam when he traveled to Afghanistan to teach in the mosques and schools of that nation’s poorer regions. There he was captured by bounty hunters and sold to the U.S. He is the sixth of eight siblings.
Al-Mutairi is one of 12 Kuwaitis represented by the Kuwaiti Family Committee, an organization that has lobbied tirelessly to win a fair trial for the detainees. “This is one giant step in our efforts to obtain due process for the 11 prisoners left behind – but it is only one step,” said Khalid Al-Odah.
The U.S. Supreme Court decision in June 2004 defined the rights of the Guantanamo detainees broadly and clearly. “According to the High Court, the right of due process covers U.S. citizens and non-citizens,” explained Tom Wilner, the U.S. attorney representing the Kuwaiti prisoners. Wilner was to participate in the Kuwait City briefing by telephone from Washington, D.C.
“The Court ruled that, even if Guantanamo Bay may be viewed as foreign soil, all rights still apply there as well,” added Wilner, who returned earlier this week from visiting the prisoners in Guantanamo. “The Bush administration has no legal ground to stand on.”
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.
CONTACT AND FAMILY INTERVIEWS:
Levick Strategic Communications
Head of Kuwaiti Family Committee
(Tel. (Kuwait City) 011-965-905-6115