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Originally published Sunday, December 30, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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Pentagon releases 10 Saudis from Gitmo

The Pentagon has downsized the detainee population at Guantánamo again, sending 10 captives home to Saudi Arabia. The 10 Saudis returned...

The Miami Herald

The Pentagon has downsized the detainee population at Guantánamo again, sending 10 captives home to Saudi Arabia.

The 10 Saudis returned home on Saturday, the Saudi Interior Ministry said.

The transfer mission reduced the captive census at the interrogation and detention center at the U.S naval base in southeast Cuba to "approximately 275," a Defense Department statement said.

It was the latest in a year-plus series of releases to Saudi Arabia, the oil-rich kingdom where al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden was born.

"The transfer is a demonstration of the United States' desire not to hold detainees any longer than necessary," the Pentagon news release said, calling the release "an unprecedented step in the history of warfare."

Under established Saudi procedures, the captives were to meet with their families but be held for investigation and counseling and possible trial before being released into society.

The Pentagon did not name the men.

If Saudi officials follow past practice, they would likely identify them over the weekend on official government Web sites.

The Saudi men had never been charged with any crimes and were instead held as "enemy combatants" under procedures established by the Bush administration for indefinite detention of foreign war-on-terrorism suspects in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks and 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

Material from Reuters is included in this report.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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