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US repatriates Saudi national held at Guantánamo Bay

MADRID, 9 Mar.

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US repatriates Saudi national held at Guantánamo Bay


The United States authorities have announced this Wednesday the repatriation of a Saudi citizen who had been detained for more than twenty years in the Guantánamo detention center in Cuba, on suspicion of having manufactured bombs for the terrorist organization Al Qaeda.

The Department of Defense has indicated that the citizen Ghassan Al Sharbi has been transferred to his country of origin, Saudi Arabia, after the US and Saudi authorities have coordinated the repatriation jointly.

The Pentagon has indicated that in February 2022 it was determined that the detention of Al Sharbi "was no longer necessary" to protect the country "against a significant and continuing threat to security." For this reason, the Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, notified the US Congress in September 2022 of his intention to repatriate the prisoner to Saudi Arabia.

"The United States appreciates the willingness of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other partners to support ongoing American efforts toward a deliberate and comprehensive process focused on responsibly reducing the detainee population and ultimately closing the Guantanamo Bay facility." , reads a statement from the department.

Currently, there are 31 detainees in Guantánamo, of which 17 can be repatriated, according to data provided by the US authorities.

Al Sharbi's transfer is the fourth recent release from Guantanamo prison, following the repatriation of two Pakistani brothers -- Abdul Rabbani and Mohamed Rabbani -- on February 23 and the transfer to Belize of another Pakistani man in early February. , in what was the first measure of its kind since Joe Biden came to the White House two years ago.

Several presidents of the country, such as Joe Biden or Barack Obama, have promised to close the detention center, following requests from the Government of Cuba, which has previously described the prison as an "appalling prison", and which has criticized more than "20 years of scandalous abuses in illegally occupied Cuban territory".