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Saudi Guantanamo detainee repatriated

[JURIST] Saudi Guantanamo detainee Muhammed Abd Al Rahman Awn Al-Shamrani has been repatriated to his home country, the US Department of Defense (DOD) announced [press release] Monday. The Periodic Review Board (PRD) [official website] determined in September that "continued law of war detention of Al-Shamrani does not remain necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States." Al-Shamrani had been held at Guantanamo for almost 14 years and was believed [WSJ report] to be an extremist recruiter for al Qaeda who might have been Osama bin Laden's bodyguard, according to WikiLeaks. Al-Shamrani is the fourth of 17 prisoners expected to be freed within the month, and there remain 103 detainees at Guantanamo.

The Obama administration has promised [JURIST report] to close Guantanamo but has struggled due to Congressional opposition to relocating detainees to the US, as well as slowing the process of transferring prisoners to other countries. This month has seen an increasing effort to fulfill that promise before President Barack Obama leaves office. Last week the last Kuwaiti detainee [JURIST report] was repatriated to his country. Two other detainees from Yemen were released [JURIST report] to Ghana. Efforts to slow down the process of closing the detention camp by the Senate were apparent in November when it passed [JURIST report] the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (NDAA) [text, PDF], barring the transfer of any detainees to the US.

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