Biden admin transfers Guantanamo Bay terrorist suspect back to native Algeria

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The Pentagon transferred suspected terrorist Sufiyan Barhoumi, 48, to his home country of Algeria on Saturday after being detained for nearly 20 years at Gitmo, leaving 37 other prisoners at the facility and taking another step toward closing down Guantanamo Bay.

On August 9, 2016, a Periodic Review Board determined that detaining Barhoumi “was no longer necessary” as he did not pose a significant threat to national security according to the Department of Defense. He has been waiting for his release after that ruling for almost six years.

Shayana Kadidal, who is a senior managing attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights and has been visiting Barhoumi for twelve years, was ecstatic over the development and the fact that his client would ostensibly be going home to his mother and family.

“I’m overjoyed,” Kadidal told Fox News Digital on Saturday during an interview. “I’ve known him, and I’ve known his family. They’re all good people. A lot of times guys were damaged before they got into Guantanamo, and you kind of worry that whatever happens after they get out won’t be good. With him, I just don’t have that kind of worry. I know he’s going to land on his feet, and he’s going to have a good life.”

The Gitmo detainee was suspected of being part of a jihadist bomb-making cell out of Pakistan. It was determined by the Pentagon at the time that he was involved with extremist groups but wasn’t a member of al Qaeda or the Taliban, according to the Washington Times. The Pentagon claims he was released to Algeria subject to security and humane treatment assurances.

There are still 37 prisoners at the detention facility which came into use after 9/11. Eighteen of those kept there are eligible for transfer, seven are eligible for a Periodic Review Board, 10 are mired in the military commissions’ process, and only two detainees have actually been convicted in military commissions. It should be noted, however, that those at Gitmo got there by either being caught in the act of carrying out terrorism or due to strong evidence they were involved in terroristic activities against the United States.

Both President Biden and former President Barack Obama have openly called for Guantanamo Bay to be shut down. Former President Donald Trump strongly disagreed and kept it open. Now that Biden is in control, he is moving forward with his goal to shutter the detention facility.

Barhouni’s delayed release was allegedly due to unspecified bureaucratic problems that stalled it during the final months of Obama’s tenure according to his attorney. The New York Times reports that in anticipation of his release, Barhoumi’s family found a bride for him when he returns home. Evidently, she is still waiting for her husband-to-be.

“The United States appreciates the willingness of Algeria, and other partners to support ongoing U.S. efforts toward a deliberate and thorough process focused on responsibly reducing the detainee population and ultimately closing of the Guantanamo Bay facility,” the Pentagon said via a statement on Saturday.

Kadidal has represented a number of other detainees. He claims that Barhoumi was the first to get a recommendation letter from a former guard which was sent to the review board. The attorney also asserts that the detainee speaks English and has become a mediator and a peacemaker at Gitmo.

Barhoumi lost his left hand in an alleged landmine accident that took place two decades ago. He is accusing the military of keeping him locked up because they assumed he lost it while making bombs.

“He’s often stated he has ‘no black heart against America’ despite his years of detention,” Kadidal recounted to Fox News Digital.


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