The Department of Defense just announced that it released a man who may have been one of Osama bin Laden’s bodyguards. And he was released to a country boarding his home country of Yemen, where Islamic terrorists who attacked a newspaper in Paris on Jan. 7 were trained.
On Wednesday night, the DOD announced the first transfer of Yemeni prisoners out of Guantanamo Bay for 2015, sending four over to Oman, and one to Estonia.
“The United States is grateful to the Government of Oman for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The United States coordinated with the Government of Oman to ensure these transfers took place consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures,” said the Pentagon statement.
After extensive review, the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force unanimously approved the transfers, but did not allow any of the detainees to be sent to Yemen, preferring to send the majority to Oman, despite the fact that Oman borders Yemen. Yemen has received 22 transfers from Guantanamo since 2004.
This represents the first time either country has accepted former detainees from Guantanamo. Al Khadr Abdallah Muhammad Al Yafi, Fadel Hussein Saleh Hentif, Abd Al-Rahman Abdullah Au Shabati, Mohammed Ahmed Salam and Akhmed Abdul Qadir, were all originally captured in Pakistan by U.S. forces and held for around a 12 years on the grounds that they were confirmed members of al-Qaida. It took a while for the U.S. to find countries willing to accept the five detainees—all in their 30s and 40s. They were cleared for release approximately five years ago. (RELATED: GOP To Close Door On Obama’s Plan To Empty Gitmo)
With the recent transfer in place, Guantanamo Bay is down to 122 detainees, of which 54 are cleared for transfer. The vast majority, 47, are Yemeni. For now, the remaining 68 detainees are considered by the DOD to be too dangerous to release.
However, Al Khadr Abdallah Muhammad Al Yafi in particular has a checkered past—much more so than the other detainees. Documents obtained by The New York Times in 2007 confirm that Khadr had trained at multiple al-Qaida camps, even becoming a facilitator. The report also states that Khadr might have been Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard.
The DOD also determined that Mohammed Ahmen Salam was an al-Qaida member who was tasked with rigging up improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to maim U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan. According to the department, Akhmed Abdul Qadir was also instrumental in the deployment of IEDs in Afghanistan. Although the rest were sent to Oman, Qadir, who was denied release in 2007 and 2008, was the sole Yemeni detainee sent to Estonia.
“We are committed to closing the detention facility. That’s our goal and we are working toward that goal,” said Ian Moss, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, according to Fox News.
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