Published: Thu, May 03, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

United States releases Saudi Guantanamo Bay prisoner

United States releases Saudi Guantanamo Bay prisoner

After serving the remainder of his sentence, about nine years, al-Darbi will spend time in a Saudi rehabilitation center for convicted extremists that aims to help them assimilate back into society through frequent visits with relatives, religious counseling with moderate clerics, art therapy and even cash assistance to help them once out.

USA officials have not ruled out adding to the prisoner population again and have acknowledged trouble repatriating Islamic State fighters being held by US -backed forces in Syria, raising the possibility that Guantanamo Bay could be seen as a viable option in the future.

Ahmed al-Darbi is the first prisoner to leave the USA base in Cuba since President Donald Trump took office.

Trump's Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, reduced the inmate population to 41 from 242, but fell short of fulfilling his promise to close the jail before leaving office past year.

Inside Guantanamo: A rare image of life inside the base was captured in February 2017, showing a detainee praying inside a common area.

Secretary Mattis and the Pentagon have offered no definitive answer on the likelihood of this transfer.

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'While it may not make him whole, my hope is that repatriation at least marks the end of injustice for Ahmed, ' said Kassem, a law professor at the City University of NY who has represented the prisoner since 2008.

The detainee is the brother-in-law of a September 11, 2001 hijacker, Khalid al-Mihdhar, who helped commandeer the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.

Prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay prison, only 40 detainees are left. He has testified to being kept in solitary confinement, strung up from a door in shackles, deprived of sleep and subjected to other forms of abuse as part of his early interrogation.

Saudi Press Agency said "Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Ahmed al-Derbi" arrived in the kingdom at 11:55pm on Wednesday night "where his family was informed of the arrival" and provided facilities to meet him.

'I can not thank enough my wife and our children for their patience and their love.

Al Darbi, 43, pleaded guilty to charges that included conspiracy, attacking civilian objects, terrorism and aiding the enemy for helping to arrange the 2002 al Qaeda attack on the French tanker MV Limburg.

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"Right now I'm not working that issue", the Secretary said when asked about the status of the Guantanamo order, "I'm not sure why". "I am deeply grateful to my country, Saudi Arabia, for welcoming back its son".

Reuters reported in March that Darbi's transfer was advancing.

A former member of al-Qaeda, al-Darbi had been detained at Guantanamo since 2002.

Trump also asked the Pentagon to re-examine the USA military's detention policy.

Trump's executive order also gave the Pentagon 90 days to devise recommendations for how to deal with individuals captured in armed conflict, and review the criteria for transfer into Guantanamo Bay.

Guantanamo has not received any new inmates since 2008, but on the campaign trail Trump vowed to load the facility with "bad dudes", and said it would be "fine" if U.S. terror suspects were sent there for trial.

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