Brothers detained in Guantanamo Bay without charge released after 20 years News
TayebMEZAHDIA / Pixabay
Brothers detained in Guantanamo Bay without charge released after 20 years

The US Department of Defense (DOD) Thursday announced the transfer of two brothers detained without charge in Guantanamo Bay for 20 years. The brothers, Abdul and Mohammed Rabbani, arrived in Pakistan on Friday. Pakistani Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, who long championed their release, praised their release in a tweet. He stated the brothers “escaped from Guantanamo Bay and reached Islamabad Airport. They were innocently imprisoned.”

The brothers, turned over to US military forces by Pakistani authorities in 2004, stood accused of maintaining al-Qaeda safehouses in Pakistan and facilitating the travel of extremists in and out of neighboring Afghanistan. Both men denied the claims, arguing their detention erroneously focused on them “speaking Arabic.” Arabic in Pakistan is sometimes associated with foreign fighters. Despite the allegations, the US government declined to file any charges against the two while in captivity.

A review of the brothers’ status began under Executive Order 13567, signed by former President Obama in 2011. The order mandates a periodic review of the individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay. During the review, a select committee determines if a detainee’s continued confinement, “is necessary to protect against a significant threat to the security of the United States.” Reports on Abdul and Mohammed written in 2016 specified low risks of a return to return to extremism after release. Additionally, separate reviews in 2021 found the two men no longer posed a significant threat to the national security of the US.

Guantanamo Bay presently houses 32 individuals. A man held for 16 years was transferred to Belize in February. The first transfer of its kind in many years. The transfers come after a 2021 legal analysis of how to close the prison.