According to an official US government document [text, PDF], a man who fought for the Taliban in Afghanistan and has been held without charge at Guantanamo Bay for 13 years was a victim of mistaken identity. Mustafa Abd-al Qawi Abd-al-Aziz al-Shamiri was held as a courier and trainer for Al Qaeda. The Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] now believes that such activities were carried out by other extremists with similar names. Al-Shamiri is connected to the men who planned the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole [JURIST News Archive], but there is no evidence he was part of the operation. In a document released by Al-Shamiri’s personal representatives, they state that he feels “remorse for choosing the wrong path early in life” and “wants to make a life for himself.”
The Guantanamo Bay prison [JURIST backgrounder] 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. This development comes in the midst of government efforts to release its remaining 112 detainees and close the Guantanamo Bay military prison. In November the last remaining British inmate, Shaker Aamer, was released and returned to the UK [JURIST report] after extensive review by the Guantanamo Review Task Force. In October five Yemeni detainees from Guantanamo Bay were transferred to the United Arab Emirates [JURIST report]. In the same month the DOD released [JURIST report] Ahmed Ould Abdel Aziz from detention and sent him back to his home country of Mauritania. Earlier that month, a judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the release [JURIST report] of eight videos depicting forced-feeding at Guantanamo Bay as part of Abu Wa’el Dhiab’s suit against the federal government. At the beginning of September, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama is considering a “wide array” [JURIST report] of options for closing the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. While Earnest said that Congressional consent would be the best means to shut the facility down, he would not rule out executive action as a last resort.