MOSCOW, January 27 (RAPSI) – Russia will seek the release of one of its nationals from the United States’ notorious Guantanamo prison, the Foreign Ministry's human rights envoy Konstantin Dolgov told journalists Monday.
Ravil Mingazov, 46, was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 on suspicion of involvement in terrorist activities and links with al-Qaida, but no charges have been filed against him to date.
Dolgov, who visited Mingazov in January, earlier said that the US had promised to clarify the Russian prisoner’s status as soon as possible.
Mingazov, a former ballet and folk dancer in a Russian Army ensemble who fled Russia after converting to Islam, is the last one of eight Russians who were held prisoner at Guantanamo. The other seven were transferred to Russia in 2004.
The US military claimed he was staying at a safe house belonging to suspected al-Qaida terrorist Abu Zubaydah at the time of his capture and had undergone training to become a terrorist.
Since it was established in 2002, the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba has been the target of criticism by human rights activists and international government officials, who have condemned its controversial interrogation methods and practice of holding some prisoners indefinitely without charging them with any crime.
The US has defended the prison as a necessary measure for dangerous prisoners who pose a serious threat to American and international security.
As of December 2013, 158 prisoners remained in Guantanamo Bay, the US Defense Department said.