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    USA HANDS OVER RUSSIAN NATIONALS HELD AT GUANTANAMO BASE

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    MOSCOW, March 1, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's foreign ministry has confirmed that seven Russian nationals, who had been held the US Guantanamo base on Cuba, had been handed over to Russia. A relative agreement was reached between the Russian Prosecutor General's Office and the United States Justice Department, Alexander Yakovenko, a Russian foreign ministry spokesman, told RIA Novosti.

    The seven prisoners arrived in Moscow on February 28.

    These Russian residents were captured in Afghanistan during the US-led anti-terrorist campaign in 2002.

    A relevant service of the Russian justice ministry met the men and sent them to a pre-trial detention center for investigation, said Mr Yakovenko.

    According to the American embassy to Russia, one more Russian resident is still held in the Guantanamo prison. It is not clear whether the two countries are negotiating his transfer to Russia or not, an embassy official told RIA Novosti.

    The USA handed the seven prisoners over to Russia on condition the latter should investigate into their case and bring in a punishment, said the embassy.

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