5 Yemeni men freed from Guantanamo Bay after 14 years without charge

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Five Yemeni men have been released from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba after being held in detention for nearly 14 years without charge, the Pentagon says. A total of 107 people remain imprisoned at the controversial facility.

The U.S. Department of Defense said Sunday that Ali Ahmad Muhammad al-Razihi, Khalid Abd-al-Jabbar Muhammad Uthman al-Qadasi, Adil Said al-Hajj Ubayd al-Busays, Sulayman Awad Bin Uqayl al-Nahdi, and Fahmi Salem Said al-Asani were released from the detention facility in Cuba and transferred to the United Arab Emirates.

“The United States is grateful to the Government of the United Arab Emirates for its willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility,” the department said in a statement. “The United States coordinated with the Government of the United Arab Emirates to ensure these transfers took place consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures.”

According to secret documents released by WikiLeaks, al-Razihi, 36, was alleged to have been a member of al-Qaeda and a bodyguard for the group’s late leader, Osama bin Laden. A 2008 document from the Department of Defense claimed that al-Razihi had received basic and advanced training at the Al Farouq training camp in southern Afghanistan and may have both supported combat activities on the front lines of Afghanistan and assisted in the management of al-Qaeda guest houses. He was captured by Pakistani forces in December 2001, along with other alleged members of al-Qaeda.

Al-Qadasi, who is 45 or 46, was assessed by the United States to be a “probable” member of al-Qaeda and claimed he had participated in armed hostilities against U.S. and Coalition forces in Afghanistan. He was said to have received al-Qaeda militant training and was among a large group of Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters when he was captured in Pakistan in late 2001. His name and alias were also found on al-Qaeda affiliated documents and is believed to have stayed at al-Qaeda and Taliban-affiliated guest houses.

Al-Busays, 42, had traveled to Afghanistan to join the Taliban in its fight against the Northern Alliance after being recruited by a guest speaker at a mosque in Aden. Al-Busays, according to Pentagon documents, openly admitted to going to Afghanistan to fight jihad against the Northern Alliance, but claimed to have neither affiliation nor knowledge of al-Qaeda, though he admitted to receiving training at al-Qaeda’s training camp in Afghanistan. The document released by WikiLeaks described al-Busays as “deceptive” with interrogators, adding that al-Busays possibly believed he would receive less punishment if he claimed affiliation with the Taliban, rather than al-Qaeda.

Al-Nahdi, who is 40, was alleged to be a member of al-Qaeda who had participated in hostilities against U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan. A U.S. document released by WikiLeaks said the detainee had traveled to Afghanistan for jihad, and added that his travel had been facilitated by jihadist recruiters. He allegedly attended training at extremist camps and stayed in al-Qaeda-sponsored guest houses.

The fifth prisoner, al-Asani, who is 38, was also alleged to have been a member of al-Qaeda, and admitted to receiving training at the Al Farouq training camp, though he insisted that he had never engaged in battle against U.S. or coalition forces in Afghanistan. Al-Asani was present when Bin Laden and other high-ranking associates visited Al Farouq, according to U.S. documents. His name was also found on a list of suspected al-Qaeda members that was recovered during the raid of a safe house.

All five men were held without charge and, as such, were never convicted of a crime.

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