[JURIST] The US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] announced Tuesday that it had transferred [press release] Guantanamo [JURIST background] detainee Abdul Shalabi. Shalabi, who likely was a bodyguard for Osama Bin Laden [BBC report], was transferred to the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after a Periodic Review Board [Executive Order 13567] determined in June that, although he may still sympathize with extremists, his continued detention did “not remain necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States.” Today 114 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay.
Guantanamo Bay prison was set up in 2002 by the Bush administration as a facility to hold the most dangerous war criminals. At its peak in 2003, the prison had a population of 684 inmates. When President Barack Obama took office in 2008, one of his first directives was to close the facility, but he has faced considerable opposition in achieving that goal. On July 1, US Secretary of State John Kerry appointed [JURIST report] Lee Wolowsky to effectuate the closure of Guantanamo Bay. In August, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said Obama is considering a “wide array” of options [JURIST report] for closing the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay.