Obama is gradually emptying the Guantanamo Bay detention center, which houses some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists. The Pentagon announced late Wednesday that detainee Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab al-Rahabi has been transferred to Montenegro, as he “no longer poses a security threat.”
The Pentagon released a statement: “The United States is grateful to the Government of Montenegro for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The United States coordinated with the Government of Montenegro to ensure this transfer took place consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures.”
WHO IS HE? Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab al-Rahabi, 37, a citizen of Yemen, has been in federal custody at Guantanamo since 2002 after being accused of serving as a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, to whom he was related by marriage. However, he was accused of much more than that…
Officials have long ago determined that Rahabi was one of several al Qaeda members who were part of an aborted 9/11 hijacking plot. The group referred to as the “Dirty 30” had been “designated as suicide operatives in a plot to hijack US air carriers traveling across Southeast Asia and destroy them in midair.” The hijackings were originally intended to occur at the same tie as the attacks on New York and D.C., but reportedly bin Laden cancelled them because it was too much to coordinate the two operations at once.
In a report dated April 28, 2008, Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) said that Rahabi was a “high risk who is likely to pose a threat to the U.S., its interests and allies,” and recommended he be retained in custody. Again in January 2010, the task force recommended he be held.
A “Periodic Review Board” reevaluated Rahabi’s case on March 5, 2014 and reported that “continued law of war detention of Rahabi remained necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States.” Further, the PRB said Rahabi’s “experience fighting on the frontlines, possible selection for a hijacking plot, and significant training” raised concerns.
However, on December 5, 2014, Rahabi finally got a streak of good luck when another PRB evaluation decided he could be transferred, saying in spite of his past terrorist activities, he could start a new life. They gave Rahabi credit for his “increased candor and credibility in acknowledging his past mistakes”, his “change in mindset” and his “desire to reintegrate into society.”
His “willingness” to relocate somewhere other than Yemen, his former homeland, helped as well.
The Guantanamo facility has held about 780 inmates since it originally opened. Now, only 79 remain, and 25 of those have already been approved for transfer and are expected to be released this year as well.
Obama wants to bring the rest, who are considered the most dangerous, to prisons in the U.S., but Republican lawmakers, as well as many Democrat lawmakers, have opposed that plan.
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