Thursday October 21, 2021

US approves release of Guantanamo Bay's oldest prisoner Saifullah Paracha

73-year-old Saifullah Paracha is from Pakistan; he was arrested on suspicion of having links to al-Qaeda

Web Desk
May 18, 2021
Saifullah Paracha. Photo: File

Guantanamo Bay's oldest prisoner Saifullah Paracha, who is from Pakistan, has been notified that his release has been approved by the US.

Paracha was arrested in Thailand in 2003 on suspicion of having links to al-Qaeda. He was later transferred to Guantanamo Bay detention centre in the US in 2004.

The 73-year-old has been held at Guantanamo Bay for more than 16 years. He was a Pakistani businessman.

He was never charged with a crime. He was cleared by a US prisoners review board along with two other men, CTV reported.

Authorities alleged he was an al-Qaeda "facilitator" who helped two of the conspirators in the 9/11 plot with a financial transaction. He says he didn't know they were al-Qaida and denies any involvement in terrorism.

Paracha's lawyers believes he will be released within the next few months.

Detailed reasons for Paracha's release were not disclosed. The notification for release concluded that Paracha is "not a continuing threat" to the US, his lawyer said.

In November, Paracha, who suffers from a number of ailments including diabetes and a heart condition, made his eighth appearance before the review board, which was established under President Barack Obama to try to prevent the release of prisoners who authorities believed might engage in anti-US hostilities upon their release from Guantanamo.