Forty men are still being held at the controversial U.S. military base in Cuba.
03 May 2018 |Alice Tidey and Associated Press | NBC News
A Guantánamo Bay prisoner has been transferred to his native Saudi Arabia where he will serve the rest of his 13-year sentence, the Pentagon announced on Wednesday, making him the first detainee to leave the controversial detention center since President Donald Trump took office.
Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Haza al-Darbi pleaded guilty in 2014 to a 2002 Al Qaeda bomb attack on a French oil tanker off the coast of Yemen.
The Pentagon statement said that al-Darbi, who was originally scheduled to return home no later than Feb. 20 as part of a plea deal, has now complied with the terms of the deal and that he has waived his right to appeal.
Before he was detained in 2002, al-Darbi worked for Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri, the mastermind of the USS Cole bombing in October 2000 that killed 17 U.S. sailors.
As part of his agreement, al-Darbi testified about Nashiri’s role in the attack.
Saudi state security confirmed he had arrived back in the country just before midnight on Wednesday.
His transfer brings the total number of men held at Guantánamo to 40. At its peak, the facility held 782 prisoners.
The agreement to repatriate al-Darbi was made under President Barack Obama, whose administration sought to gradually reduce the prison population in the hope of eventually closing the detention center.
Trump reversed that policy and has vowed to continue using the detention center, although no new detainee has arrived at Guantánamo since his election.
In a separate statement Wednesday, the Defense Department said it had sent the White House a proposed set of guidelines for sending prisoners to Guantánamo in the future “should that person present a continuing, significant threat to the security of the United States.”
A Pentagon spokeswoman declined to provide any details about the new policy.
Original Link | Saudi is first Guantánamo detainee to leave under Trump