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Last Russian Citizen Held at Guantanamo Extradited to U.A.E.

Paul Keller / Wikicommons

U.S. authorities have extradited three prisoners, including Russian citizen Ravil Mingazov, from the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba to the United Arab Emirates. The extradition was announced on Friday by the U.S. Department of Defense.

"The United States is grateful to the Government of the United Arab Emirates for its humanitarian gesture. The United States agreed with the Government that the transfer will be carried out under reliable protection and humane treatment," the Pentagon's statement read.

After being arrested by local authorities in Pakistan, Mingazov was handed over to the Americans who held the Russian in the detention center in Guantanamo for 14 years without issuing formal charges. U.S. authorities believed Mingazov had fought alongside the Taliban against the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance in Afghanistan and suspected he harbored links to an Al Qaeda affiliated group in Uzbekistan. 

Mingazov has denied links to terrorism or terrorist activities. 

The Russian government repeatedly requested that the United States extradite Mingazov to Russia. However, the Pentagon claimed that the prisoner "despised the Russian government," and refused to turn him over out of fear that he would be charged in Russia. Mingazov told Pentagon officials that treatment at Guantanamo was better than what he could expect in Russia, U.S. authorities said

Mingazov's ex-wife and son currently live in the United Kingdom, where they have been granted asylum. 

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