Yemeni man accused of being Bin Laden bodyguard released from Guantanamo

Published June 23rd, 2016 - 11:30 GMT
A guard tower is seen at Guantanamo Bay military prison. (AFP/John Moore)
A guard tower is seen at Guantanamo Bay military prison. (AFP/John Moore)

A Yemeni man who spent the last 14 years in custody at Guantanamo Bay prison has been freed and resettled in Montenegro, CBS reported Thursday.

Abdel Malik Abdel Wahab al-Rahabi was cleared for release in March 2014 after an intense security review. But due to the ongoing civil war in Yemen, the Obama administration does not send Yemeni nationals back to the country, and must find another nation willing to admit them.

Al-Rahabi was one of the so-called "Day One" detainees, accused of being one of Osama Bin Laden's bodyguards. He was never officially charged with any crime after 14 years in prison.

A Pentagon profile said in 2013 al-Rahabi had traveled from Yemen to Afghanistan and "almost certainly" was a member of al-Qaeda. In the end, authorities decided he did not pose a threat and could be released.

Lee Wolosky, special envoy for Guantanamo closure at the US State Department told reporters, "Montenegro now joins other US friends and allies in Europe in accepting multiple detainees for resettlement, bringing us closer to our shared goal of closing the facility."

Seventy-nine prisoners remain at Guantanamo, 29 of whom have been cleared for release and are awaiting resettlement. Those remaining in the prison have either been charged or convicted of war crimes, or authorities have deemed them too dangerous to release.

According to al-Rahabi's lawyer, David Remes, he is desperate to get out and be reunited with his wife and daughter.

"He's been waiting for this a long time," Remes said. 

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