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35 Pakistanis Freed From Guantanamo

September 19, 2004|From Associated Press

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Thirty-five Pakistani prisoners released from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba returned home Saturday, a senior Interior Ministry official said.

Pakistani authorities detained the men for questioning after they arrived at a Pakistani air base near the capital, Islamabad, said Brig. Javed Iqbal Cheema, director-general of the National Crisis Management Cell at the Interior Ministry.

He said the men would be allowed to go home after the interrogations were completed.

The Pentagon said the 35 Pakistanis were among 191 prisoners who had been released from Guantanamo Bay.

Saturday's "transfer included 29 to the control of Pakistan for continued detention, and six to Pakistan for release," the Pentagon said in a statement.

Cheema was the head of a delegation that went to Washington in May to secure the release of Pakistani citizens detained at Guantanamo Bay.

He said five or six Pakistanis are still in U.S. custody, but he hoped that they would be released soon.

He would not say why those men were not freed by the U.S.

The release of the prisoners came a day before President Pervez Musharraf was to leave for the United States to address the U.N. General Assembly session in New York and meet with President Bush.

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