MIAMI (TheBlaze/AP) — A Saudi citizen who has spent the past 12 years detained at Guantanamo Bay has been released as the U.S. continues attempts to whittle down the prison population at its base in Cuba.
In this image reviewed by the US military, the sun rises over Camp Delta detention compound which has housed foreign prisoners since 2002, at Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base, June 6, 2008 in Cuba. (Photo: Brennan Linsley/AFP/Getty Images)
The Pentagon said Saturday that Muhammad al-Zahrani was sent to his homeland based on the conclusion of a parole-like board that has been re-evaluating whether it is still necessary to hold some of the men as prisoners.
The Defense Department report on al-Zahrani posted on WikiLeaks deemed him to be of "high risk" threat to the U.S. and said he was of high intelligence value:
Detainee is an admitted member of al-Qaida who swore bayat (oath of allegiance) to Usama Bin Laden (UBL). Detainee is associated with numerous high-level members of the al-Qaida network. Detainee admitted his involvement in planning the assassination of Northern Alliance General Ahmad Shah Masoud and also participating in the assassination of another Northern Alliance commander. Detainee served in a special four-man reconnaissance unit which carried out deadly missions against the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan (UIFSA) forces in the spring and summer of 2001. Detainee admitted he received extensive militant training including the use of explosives. Detainee has indicated his intention to rejoin the fight if released.
Al-Zahrani will take part in a Saudi rehabilitation program for militants.
He is the 13th prisoner released from Guantanamo Bay this year and the seventh in just the past two weeks. Officials have said there will be additional releases in the coming weeks as part of a renewed push to close the prison where 142 men are now held.
This image reviewed by the US military shows a member of the military asking for entrance at the front gate of 'Camp Five' and 'Camp Six' detention facility of the Joint Detention Group at the US Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, January 19, 2012. (Photo Credit: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
The releases of suspected terrorists have continued despite the Defense Department admitting that some released detainees have gone back to fight against the U.S. in Iraq, Syria and other countries.
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