Russians to check on Guantanamo inmate on January 17: official
MOSCOW: Moscow’s human rights commissioner said Thursday he will lead a team of lawmakers to the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay next week for a meeting with its last Russian captive.
The Russian foreign ministry’s human rights envoy Konstantin Dolgov said US officials had given their tentative approval for the meeting to go ahead on January 17.
“We continue to proceed on the understanding that the US side is keeping January 17 as the date of the Russian delegation’s visit,” Dolgov told the ITAR-TASS news agency.
“We have been promised this date by the US side. We are now waiting for information about the organisational format of this visit.”
Dolgov’s team is due to include several senators from Russia’s Federation Council upper house of parliament.
Russian news reports said the group wanted to ensure that 46-year-old Ravil Mingazov – detained in Pakistan in 2002 and held at the US prison camp on the southeastern coast of Cuba since October that year, was in good health.
Mingazov was a ballet dancer who converted to Islam while serving in the Russian army and then traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
News reports said he was detained in a Muslim refugee camp in the Pakistani city of Faisalabad on suspicion of terrorist activity, along with 16 other residents.
Mingazov is the last remaining Russian prisoner out of at least eight held at the controversial base by the United States. The others were reported to have been repatriated in 2004.
Russian news reports said US officials had previously been willing to allow Dolgov to visit the camp but had ruled out the possibility of a meeting with Mingazov.
It was unclear from Dolgov’s statement whether he had been authorised to see the Russian inmate.