One of Bin Laden's Bodyguards Is Leaving Gitmo for Saudi Arabia
A Guantanamo Bay detainee who in 2009 was labeled "too dangerous" for release will now be transferred to Saudi Arabia.
The Pentagon said that the release of Abdul Rahman Shalabi, 39, will leave 114 detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
Shalabi is believed to have trained to be the 20th 9/11 hijacker. He was captured in 2001 by the Pakistani army and was among the first group of detainees to be sent to the U.S. military prison.
His lawyers have said Shalabi had been on a hunger strike since 2005 and was being force-fed his meals.
The New York Times reported:
In a statement explaining its reasoning, the board said Mr. Shalabi had “terrorist-related activities and connections” in the past, but said it was confident that the Saudi government’s rehabilitation program and its ability to monitor former detainees would mitigate the risks. The board also cited the fact that Mr. Shalabi’s nephew, who was repatriated from Guantánamo in President George W. Bush’s second term and went through the Saudi rehabilitation program, has apparently lived quietly ever since.
“The board also considered the detainee’s well-established family, their willingness and ability to support him upon his return, and their prior success in assisting with the rehabilitation and reintegration of a former Guantánamo detainee,” the review panel said.
Mr. Shalabi appeared before the board at a hearing in April. He asked that his statements not be made public. But a lawyer helping to represent him, Julia Tarver-Mason Wood, told the board that he just wanted “to settle down, get married and have a family of his own, and put the past behind him.”
President Obama is still trying to close Guantanamo Bay before he leaves office in 2016.
Since Congress has rejected the possibility of bringing detainees to U.S. prisons, the administration is steadily emptying the facility by transferring detainees to other countries.
Of the 114 remaining detainees, 52 have been recommended for transfer if security conditions are met in the other countries.
Watch Fox News contributor Richard Grenell discuss the latest transfer on "America's Newsroom" in the video above.