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Guantanamo detainee not believing Obama and Yemeni Government

Yemen Observer
by Nasser Arrabyee
April 22, 2009

A Yemeni Guantanamo detainee said he does not believe in promises that he and other prisoners will be released home.

"If Yemeni Government and Obama come over to tell me about their promises, this will never change any thing in my situation. They just talk," said the detainee, Abdul Salem al-Heelah, who has been languishing in Guantanamo since 2002.

A big controversy has been going on over the Yemeni detainees, the largest group, since last January when US President Obama ordered on his second day in office the closure of the detention in one year. Two days after Obama's order, the Yemeni President Saleh, expected that 94 Yemenis will return home within 90 days. Saleh said at the time a rehabilitation center will be built for the returnees.

"If I had a European passport, all Europe would have demanded my release and return home," al-Heelah told his family in Sana'a over phone from the Cuban bay of Guantanamo in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC.

al-Heelah, who is one of about 100 Yemenis among the 250 detainees still in Guantanamo, criticized his Yemeni government for not working on their release.

"The investigators, translators, and lawyers make fun of the Yemeni government, they say it's a beggar," He said in the conversation which was recorded distributed by the family to media.

"Whenever they ask the government to receive the Yemenis, they say give us 10 million dollars, they beg in our names , they degraded us and degraded themselves," said al-Heelah who was a businessman in Yemen before being lured to Egypt in 2002 where he was kidnapped to Guantanamo.

About the rehabilitation centre, which the two governments speak about as a condition for the release of the men, he said "If every Yemeni pays 1000 YR, they would build 1000 centers, and we would not need the Americans, people should tell the Yemeni government."

They keep me in prison without charges or trials, and now they speak about rehabilitation, what rehabilitation," he wondered.

The family sources said, the mother did not speak to her son in the undated conversation, because she gets sad when she speaks with him over phone especially after he told her in one of the previous telephone conversations " See you in paradise, mum"

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