Opinion

Obama’s Gitmo review board makes bin Laden’s bodyguard release possible

gitmo_guard_tower,_razor_wire
Photo credit: www.accessnorthga.com

An Obama administration review board reclassified an al-Qaida terrorist and suspected Osama bin Laden bodyguard, making it possible for him to be released from Guantanamo Bay for the first time since his capture.

The reclassification came “under Executive Order 13567,” signed by President Obama on March 7, 2011, according to the board making the decision.

Since his arrival at Gitmo on Jan. 11, 2002, Mahmud Mujahid, 34, has been considered a “forever prisoner,” according to the Miami Herald.

In 2010, an Obama Task Force listed him among 48 Guantánamo prisoners who were considered too dangerous to release but who could not be charged with a crime because of a lack of evidence. Two since died, and now Mujahid leaves the indefinite detainee list, reducing the figure of forever prisoners to 45.

Mahmud Mujahid
Mahmud Mujahid’s Guantánamo file photo
Photo credit: the Miami Herald

“By consensus, the PRB [Periodic Review Board] members found that continued law of war detention is no longer necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the United States and that Mujahid is therefore eligible for transfer subject to appropriate security and humane treatment conditions,” the review board said in an announcement.

Reclassifying Mujahid does not guarantee his release, but it makes it a possibility.

Mujahid and his attorney, David Remes, appeared in a video feed, with Mujahid saying he would move to a Western country or to Yemen, his home country, if released.

“Now that he’s been cleared, he should be transferred,” Remes told the Miami Herald. “He’s lost 12 years of his life at Guantánamo — over a third of his life and all of his adult life. It’s time to send him home. It’s time to send all the cleared Yemenis home without delay. There’s no justification for continuing to hold any of them.”

Yemen is the headquarters of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, a Sunni extremist group responsible for numerous terrorist attacks.

The board’s announcement comes on the heels of a report that another former Gitmo detainee, Abu Sufian bin Qumu, played a significant role in the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which took four American lives — including that of Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Watch the Fox News report.


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