Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Seven let go

The US has released seven Russians from Guantanamo Bay:

The United States has turned over seven Russian citizens who were being held at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, American and Russian officials said Monday.

Deputy chief prosecutor Sergei Fridinsky said Russian authorities have charged the men with illegally crossing borders, mercenary activity and participating in a criminal group, the Interfax news agency reported. They were captured in Afghanistan and accused of fighting alongside the Taliban.

The detainees were turned over Saturday under an agreement between Washington and Moscow and were in the custody of Russia's Justice Ministry, the Foreign Ministry said.

The Russian prosecutor general's office has said that the detainees include residents of Russia's Muslim-majority republics of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, the Ural Mountains city of Chelyabinsk, western Siberia and the Caucasus region.

A Russian diplomat said a month ago that Moscow expected eight Russian citizens being held at Guantanamo to be handed over for trial soon. There was no explanation of the discrepancy in numbers.


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