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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Libya releasing jihadists from prison

This little story seems to have slipped under the wire....

Libya freed 37 prisoners late on Tuesday, including at least one former detainee at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, who had been jailed for links to radical Islamist groups but have since renounced violence.

The prisoners were kissed and hugged by waiting relatives when they walked out of the Abu Salim prison near Tripoli, in the latest in a series of releases designed to draw a line under radical Islamist violence in Libya.

"These releases come in the context of national reconciliation and social peace," said Mohamed al Allagi, chairman of the human rights committee of the Gaddafi Foundation, the charity which helped organise the release.

The charity is headed by Saif al-Islam, a reform-minded son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who some analysts say could eventually succeed his father.

Saif al-Islam has campaigned for reconciliation with Islamists who promise to lay down their arms.

More than 700 prisoners accused of having ties to Islamist militant groups have now been released under the reconciliation programme, but over 300 are still behind bars, according to figures given by Libyan officials.