WASHINGTON (AP) — A Saudi prisoner on the Guantanamo Bay detention heart who was suspected of attempting to affix the 9/11 hijackers has been despatched again to his house nation for therapy for psychological sickness, the Division of Protection mentioned Monday.
Mohammad Ahmad al-Qahtani was flown again to Saudi Arabia, to a therapy facility, from the U.S. base in Cuba after a evaluate board together with navy and intelligence officers concluded he could possibly be safely launched after 20 years in custody.
The 46-year-old prisoner has suffered from psychological sickness, together with schizophrenia, since childhood, in keeping with medical examinations and information obtained by his legal professionals. The U.S. dropped plans to attempt him after a Bush administration authorized official concluded he had been tortured at Guantanamo.
Along with his launch, there at the moment are 38 prisoners left on the detention heart. He’s the second launched underneath President Joe Biden, who has mentioned he intends to shut the power.
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“The US appreciates the willingness of Saudi Arabia and different companions to assist ongoing U.S. efforts towards a deliberate and thorough course of targeted on responsibly decreasing the detainee inhabitants and finally closing of the Guantanamo Bay facility,” the Division of Protection mentioned in an announcement saying the repatriation of al-Qahtani.
Nevertheless, solely half the lads held there have been cleared for launch, and no determination has been made about what to do with the remaining, together with those that nonetheless face trial by navy fee.
The Protection Division notified Congress of its intention to switch al-Qahtani in February, prompting outrage from some Republicans.
Legal professionals for al-Qahtani obtained a federal courtroom order in 2020 requiring a medical examination of the prisoner by an impartial medical panel, which might have ordered his repatriation underneath Military laws if the prognosis of his docs was confirmed. The Trump administration contested the order, a authorized struggle that was dropped underneath Biden.
“After 20 years with out trial in U.S. custody, Mohammed will now obtain the psychiatric care he has lengthy wanted in Saudi Arabia, with the assist of his household,” mentioned Ramzi Kassem, a legislation professor on the Metropolis College of New York who represented al-Qahtani with assist from college students for over a decade. “Holding him at Guantanamo, the place he was tortured, after which repeatedly tried suicide, would have been a possible loss of life sentence.”
In August 2001, al-Qahtani was turned away from the U.S. on the Orlando airport by immigration officers who have been suspicious of his journey. The lead Sept. 11 hijacker, Mohammed Atta, was going to choose him up to participate within the plot, in keeping with beforehand launched paperwork.
U.S. forces later captured him in Afghanistan and despatched him to Guantanamo, the place he was subjected to brutal interrogations that the Pentagon authorized official in control of conflict crimes commissions mentioned amounted to torture.
That therapy included beatings, publicity to excessive temperatures and noise, sleep deprivation and prolonged solitary confinement. An FBI official in 2002 noticed al-Qahtani talking to non-existent folks, listening to voices and crouching in a nook of his cell whereas masking himself with a sheet for hours at a time.
The 38 remaining prisoners at Guantanamo embrace 19 who’ve been permitted for repatriation or resettlement by the evaluate board. There are one other 7 who’re eligible for evaluate. Ten prisoners face trial by navy fee, together with 5 charged with involvement within the Sept. 11, 2001, assaults. Their loss of life penalty case has been stalled for years within the pretrial part.
The remaining two prisoners on the base have been convicted, one in all whom, former Maryland resident Majid Khan, is nearing the completion of his sentence underneath a plea deal.
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