Egypt demands release of Guantanamo detainee
August 03, 2012
The Egyptian government requested this week that the United States release the sole Egyptian detained at the Guantanamo Bay military prison, language that amounts to a stark demand by a country that has been among Washington’s most reliable imperialist allies in the Middle East.
The case of Tariq Mahmoud Ahmed al-Sawah, 54, who the United States accuses of belonging to al-Qaeda, has the potential to become the first thorn in the relationship between the U.S. and the Egyptian governments since the election of the country’s new president.
Amr Roushdy, a spokesman for Egypt’s Foreign Ministry, said Friday that the country’s embassy in Washington had formally made the request to the State Department on Tuesday.
“He was not charged with any crime until now,” Roushdy said. “He is an Egyptian citizen detained in an illegal manner.”
The Defense Department charged Sawah in 2008 with providing material support for terrorism and conspiracy, alleging that he was a member of al-Qaeda who specialized in explosives. His case is unique because he has become among the most “valuable” informants detained at the military camp. The charges were dropped in March and no new charges have been filed.