NINE YEMENI GITMO DETAINEES WERE RELEASED TO SAUDI ARABIA:


Saudi Arabia on Saturday took in nine Yemeni detainees from Guantánamo, a breakthrough deal with the at-times stubborn oil kingdom that left 80 captives at the downsizing U.S. military detention center in Cuba.

Among those the U.S. Air Force delivered to Saudi Arabia was 5-foot-4-inch hunger striker Tariq Ba Odah, 38, who gained prominence by asking a federal judge to order his release after he shriveled to 74 pounds despite daily U.S. Navy medical tube feedings.

Cleared for years, Ba Odah, like the others released, could not go back to Yemen because of a White House policy that forbids repatriations to the poor, violent nation south of Saudi Arabia on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

But in a turnabout, the Saudi government agreed to take non-citizens from Guantánamo to its rehabilitation program set up to help Saudi jihadists transition back into society. All nine men have relatives living there, according to a U.S. official with knowledge of the deal. In fact, four were born in Saudi Arabia to Yemeni parents.

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