US Eyes Saudi Rehab for Yemeni Detainees

But Saudi Arabia not jumping at the chance to take in Guantanamo detainees
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2009 9:53 AM CDT
A Guantanamo detainee, center left in white, jogs around the exercise area at the medium security portion of Camp Delta detention facility, at the Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base, Cuba, Sept. 21, 2006.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
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(Newser) – When a Saudi Arabian returns home from Guantanamo Bay, a top Saudi prince personally informs their families—then asks them to sign guarantees that he will not return to terrorism. It’s part of Saudi Arabia’s highly effective extremist rehabilitation program, which has so far graduated 108 detainees. Now, the US is all but begging the Saudis to try their techniques on the 97 Yemenis still locked up in Guantanamo. But the Saudis are skeptical that the success will transfer.

“If I try to do something bad, my family will tell the government,” says one program graduate. “How can you trust that will happen with a family in Yemen?” In taking its citizens, the Saudis risk damaging its close ties with the country; if the Yemenis enter rehab only to rejoin al-Qaeda, it would be a potentially dangerous embarrassment for the Saudis. "It's a no-win situation," says an analyst. Still, Saudi Arabia remains the most likely destination for the detainees, and has publicly said it’ll take them if they come willingly.