Saudi prisoner repatriated from Guantanamo after 14 years

US repatriates Saudi prisoner from Guantanamo Bay after 14 years of detention as President Obama continues efforts to close controversial detention centre before his term ends

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Human right activists dressed as prisoners of Guantanamo Bay march during a rally to demand the closure of Guantanamo prison, near the White House in Washington January 11, 2016

A Saudi Guantanamo Bay prisoner has been repatriated after 14 year of detention, the Pentagon said in a statement on Monday.

Muhammed Abd Al Rahman Awn Al-Shamrani, 40, is found no longer a  “significant threat to the security of the United States,” a Pentagon statement said.

Al-Shamrani, suspected of being an Al-Qaeda member who "possibly" worked as Osama bin Laden's bodyguard had been held in the controversial prison without trial.

In a 2015 dated detainee statement Al-Shamrani said he had been held “without basic rights which preserve human dignity.”

He also said he is eager to look after his family and her ill mother after his father passed away ten years ago when he was detained in the prison.

Al-Shimrani said a Saudi Arabia reintegration and rehabilitation program he will participate in will benefit him “much more than if I was just released and sent home.”

He said he looks forward to receiving assistance from religious scholars in the rehabilitation program in order to “reflect on whether [his] actions have been good or bad.”

Shamrani’s release brings the facility's total population to 103.

On Monday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said that US President Barack Obama is committed to closing Guantanamo.

During his presidential campaign and throughout his term in office, Obama vowed several times to close Guantanamo.

The administration has increased efforts towards that aim, transferring Guantanamo detainees to their home countries or to third countries, but the process has been stalled by the Republican controlled US Congress.

In November, Congress passed a $607 billion defence policy bill that prevents the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the US. Obama signed the defence policy despite his opposing stand.

TRTWorld and agencies