[Pnews] Two Yemeni Guantanamo inmates win release after being held without charge for 17 years

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sun Jun 20 11:13:07 EDT 2021

Yemeni Guantanamo inmates win release after being held without charge for
17 yearsJune 19, 2021

The men are among 40 prisoners still at the facility that began taking
prisoners following the September 11 attacks

Protestors in Washington DC highlight the continuing use of the Guantanamo
Bay facility as a military prison (AFP)

Published date: 19 June 2021 14:02 UTC | Last update: 1 day 1 hour ago

Two Yemeni prisoners held without charge at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba for the
last seventeen years have been released by the US government, new documents

US Defence Department files show that Ali al-Hajj al-Sharqawi, 47, and Abd
al-Salam al-Hilal, 49, were approved for transfer to other countries on 8

"The Periodic Review Board, by consensus, determined that continued law of
war detention of the detainee is no longer necessary to protect against a
continuing significant threat to the security of the United States,"
documents released by the Pentagon's Review Board showed.


US approves release of oldest Guantanamo prisoner

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The two men were detained in 2002 as part of the US "War on Terror" that
saw Washington search the world for al-Qaeda members after the September 11
attacks on the United States in 2001. Both were later transferred to
Guantanamo Bay in 2004.

Records show Sharqawi was accused of being a senior al-Qaeda member who
helped move money for the group and recruit bodyguards for the former
al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Sharqawi was also tortured while being interrogated by the CIA in Pakistan,
according to records. He never faced charges in military tribunals held for
Guantanamo prisoners.

While Egyptian authorities detained Hilal in Cairo in 2002, where a Yemeni
government official accused him of facilitating activities for al-Qaeda,
and handed him over to the US authorities. Hilal was also never charged.
'Monitoring and travel restrictions'

The Pentagon Review Board said both men presented "some level of threat in
light of past activities". It added that Hilal's travel could be safely
arranged with "monitoring and travel restrictions" and that Sharqawi
could be resettled in a third country that could rehabilitate him.


UN rights experts urge Biden to address rights violations at Guantanamo Bay

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The two men are among 40 prisoners still at Guantanamo Bay, which began
taking prisoners following the September 11 attacks.

Currently, eleven prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, including Hilal and
Sharqawi, have been cleared to be sent elsewhere and are waiting for the US
State Department to arrange their repatriation.

In May, the Biden administration approved the release of three detainees to
countries that will impose security conditions, including the oldest
prisoner in Guantanamo Bay, Saifullah Paracha, a 73-year-old from Pakistan.

Earlier this year, US President Joe Biden launched a review of plans to
close down the military prison.
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