US Department of Defense to release fourth Guantanamo Bay prisoner this year News
© WikiMedia (Gino Reyes)
US Department of Defense to release fourth Guantanamo Bay prisoner this year

The US Department of Defense (DOD) Wednesday said it will release Gussan Abdullah Al Sharbi after 20 years in Guantanamo Bay. Al Sharbi, a citizen of Saudi Arabia, is set to be transferred the Kingdom for repatriation. Al Sharbi was captured in Pakistan in 2002 by the US military. He was accused of training al Qaeda militants in the English language and on construction of circuit boards for remotely detonated bombs. He previously earned an electrical engineering degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Arizona.

The initial charges, brought under a military commission, were dismissed in 2006. Under the US Supreme Court ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, military commissions could only be convened in situations of martial law, temporary military government or in cases of war crimes. Since none of the specific circumstances applied to Al Sharbi, he was afforded due process in a “regularly constituted court” as required by the Geneva Convention Article 3.

However, Congress soon passed the Military Commissions Act which allowed the US government to continue detention. Under the act’s “unlawful enemy combatant” classification, al Sharbi was accused of engaging in hostilities against the US but never faced trial for the allegations. A February 4 review mandated by Executive Order 13567 found that Al Sharbi no longer constitutes a threat to the US.

Al Sharbi’s release from Guantanamo Bay is the fourth this year. Abdul and Mohammed Rabbani were released to Pakistan and Majid Khan was transferred to Belize in February.