Source: Washington Post
For five years, Jumah al-Dossari sat in a tiny cell at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, watched day and night by military captors who considered him one of the most dangerous terrorist suspects on the planet.
In July, he was suddenly released to his native Saudi Arabia, which held a very different view. Dossari was immediately reunited with his family and treated like a VIP. He was given a monthly stipend and a job, housed and fed, even promised help in finding a wife. Today, he is a free man living on the Persian Gulf coast.
The treatment is part of a Saudi "reintegration program" designed to help Dossari, 34, and other former Guantanamo prisoners adjust to modern society and learn the meanings of Islam. About 40 of the more than 100 Guantanamo detainees from Saudi Arabia who have been transferred to Riyadh since last year have been released after participating in the program, and the rest are scheduled to be let go in coming months.
The Defense Department considered more than 90 percent of the transferred detainees to be terrorist threats to the United States and its allies, but sent them home as part of an agreement that Saudi Arabia would mitigate the threat, according to Cmdr. J.D. Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman.
"Our goal is to transfer out as many individuals from Guantanamo Bay as we can," said Sandra L. Hodgkinson, deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs. "The Saudis have developed a reconciliation program to address the needs of their population, and we strongly appreciate them finding a way to mitigate the threats that these people pose. We believe this is a very, very good program."
Critics are concerned that the arrangement will simply return some extremists to the streets. Defense officials say about 30 of the nearly 480 detainees released from Guantanamo have again taken up terrorist activities.