Thursday October 28, 2021

US approves freeing two Gitmo detainees

October 15, 2021

Washington: The US government has approved the release of two more of the 39 wartime detainees held for years at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to rulings posted by the Pentagon.

Yemeni Sanad Yislam al-Kazimi and Afghanistan native Assadullah Haroon Gul, known as Haroon al-Afghani, both won approval for their release on October 7, documents posted by the Guantanamo Periodic Review Board said.

Kazimi, 51, who was a low-level bodyguard for Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, has been in Guantanamo for 17 years.

Kazimi was detained in Dubai in November 2002 and handed over to US officials the next year, interrogated by the CIA in Afghanistan and then transferred to Guantanamo in 2004, where he was judged for years too much of a threat to be released.

Given the unstable situation in Yemen, the review board, which involves high level US security officials, recommended Kazimi be sent to neighboring Oman, which has a rehabilitation program for Guantanamo detainees.

After years of Kazimi being held at Guantanamo without trial as a significant threat, the release order cited his "lack of a leadership role in an extremist organisation and the limited timeframe of his associations with (Al-Qaeda) members."

Gul, 40, has been in Guantanamo since June 2007 as an Islamist militia commander and Al-Qaeda courier, originally labelled a "dangerous terror suspect."