March 20, 2023

By no means charged with against the law, Ghassan Al Sharbi, 48, returns to Saudi Arabia after being held for 21 years at Guantanamo.

America has launched a Saudi Arabian engineer who was imprisoned for greater than 20 years at Guantanamo Bay navy jail regardless of by no means being charged with suspected crimes following the September 11, 2001 assaults on the US.

The US Division of Protection mentioned on Wednesday that Ghassan Al Sharbi, 48, was returned to Saudi Arabia after a evaluate board decided in February 2022 that his detention “was now not mandatory to guard in opposition to a seamless important menace to the nationwide safety of the US”.

Al Sharbi was transferred to Saudi Arabia “topic to the implementation of a complete set of safety measures together with monitoring, journey restrictions and continued info sharing,” the protection division mentioned in a press release.

The Pentagon’s Periodic Evaluate Board dominated in 2022 that Al Sharbi had no management or facilitator place in al-Qaeda and was compliant in detention. It additionally mentioned he had unspecified “bodily and psychological well being points”.

The US mentioned Al Sharbi had fled to Pakistan after the September 11 assaults and had acquired coaching in bomb-making. He was arrested there the subsequent yr, allegedly tortured in custody and despatched to the Guantanamo jail camp.

The US navy had weighed costs in opposition to Al Sharbi and several other others however dropped them in 2008. Although by no means charged with against the law, he was additionally not permitted for launch and the US continued to carry Al Sharbi as an enemy fighter.

Al Sharbi was initially focused as a result of he had studied at an aeronautical college in Arizona and had attended flight college with two of the al-Qaeda hijackers concerned within the 2001 assaults.

He turns into at the very least the fourth Guantanamo detainee launched and despatched to a different nation to this point this yr.

The US Navy’s base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, held about 600 prisoners at its peak in 2003. With Al Sharbi’s switch, it now holds 31 detainees, together with 17 individuals thought of eligible for switch if a steady nation could be discovered to just accept them, the the protection division mentioned.

One other three Guantanamo inmates are eligible for evaluate, whereas 9 are going through costs beneath navy commissions and two have been convicted in such commissions.

two Pakistani brothers – Abdul, 55, and Mohammed Rabbani, 53 – had been freed and returned dwelling final month after being held at Guantanamo Bay for 20 many years.

Pakistani Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan, chairman of a human rights committee within the nation’s higher home of parliament, mentioned the boys had been harmless however imprisoned by the US for 21 years.

“There was no trial, no courtroom proceedings, no costs in opposition to them. Congratulations on their launch. Thanks Senate of Pakistan,” he wrote on Twitter on the time of his launch.

The brothers had been transferred to US custody after Pakistani officers arrested them in Karachi in 2002. The US accused the pair of serving to al-Qaeda members with housing and different lower-level logistical assist.

Human rights organizations have lengthy known as for the Guantanamo jail camp to be shut down.

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