(Washington) The United States announced, on Wednesday evening, the release of a new detainee from Guantanamo prison and the return of an engineer who was arrested after the September 11, 2001 attacks to Saudi Arabia, but he was not charged with any formal charges.
Ghassan Abdullah Al Sharqi, 48, was arrested in Faisalabad, Pakistan along with another Al Qaeda member in March 2002. He studied Aeronautics at a University in Arizona (USA West) and was driving along with two Al Qaeda hijackers in connection with the 9/11 attacks. .
The Pentagon had studied some of the accusations against Ghassan Abdullah al-Sharbi, but abandoned the idea in 2008, with his continued detention as an enemy combatant in the prison of the Guantanamo military base on the island of Cuba.
His status remained uncertain until last year: he was never charged, but had not considered being released until then.
In February 2022, the Pentagon committee that deals with requests for release issued a decision that this citizen from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia could be released, because he did not hold a leadership position within Al-Qaeda, and respected the rules of detention. Years ago, he was labeled an enemy prisoner.
The committee also declared that he suffers from “physical and mental problems”, without specifying their nature.
His decision indicated that he was fit to join Saudi Arabia’s program to rehabilitate radical jihadists, the aim of which was to slowly change their views while ensuring that they remained in check as they returned to civilian life.
The release of Ghassan Abdullah Al-Sharqi means that 31 detainees remain in Guantanamo. At its peak, the prison held nearly 800.
Of those 31, 17 are eligible for transfer because the Pentagon and the US State Department are seeking countries willing to accept them. Three others are eligible for review by the Pentagon committee.
There are also five men accused of the Sept. 11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York and Washington.
Nine men still being held at Guantanamo face charges, and two have been convicted in a military court.