Cairo seeks release of Egyptian at Guantánamo

 
 
A cell at Camp Echo on April 2, 2009, with a steel bunk and toilet separated by a mesh cage from a table for interviews or interrogations in this image approved for release by the military at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
A cell at Camp Echo on April 2, 2009, with a steel bunk and toilet separated by a mesh cage from a table for interviews or interrogations in this image approved for release by the military at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
JOHN VANBEEKUM / MIAMI HERALD

Associated Press

Egypt has asked the United States to release the last Egyptian held at the at the U.S. Navy base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where he has been held since 2002.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry statement Thursday says Cairo has sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton requesting the release of Tarek al-Sawah.

The ministry said Egypt made the request on the grounds that Sawah has been held for 11 years without charges or trial. The statement noted that the Pentagon’s Military Commissions prosecutor has dropped charges against him of supporting terrorist groups in Afghanistan.

Critics have challenged the military trials and note that a majority of the 168 prisoners still in Guantánamo Bay will never be charged with a crime or face trial.

Leaked Guantánamo documents say Sawah is 54, was born in Alexandria, Egypt, and is a citizen of both Egypt and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

His September 2008 risk assessment, prepared by the prison camps, and provided to McClatchy Newspapers by WikiLeaks, recommended his release from Guantánamo, after recommending his continued detention in an assessment a year earlier.

Miami Herald staff writer Carol Rosenberg contributed to this report.

Read more Guantánamo stories from the Miami Herald

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