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News > World

US Frees Guantanamo Prisoner After 14 Years Without Conviction

  •  A detainee and guards inside the Guantanamo Bay jail.

    A detainee and guards inside the Guantanamo Bay jail. | Photo: AFP

Published 22 May 2016

A man known as Obaidullah was arrested in Afghanistan in 2002 but charges were thrown out in 2011 and lawyers had petitioned for release ever since. 

The U.S. government announced the release of an Afghan who had been detained for 14 years without ever being convicted of a crime and five years after charges against him were thrown out, various news outlets reported Sunday.

The Periodic Review Board, an organization comprised of various government agencies that conducts parole-style hearings for prisoners held at Guantanamo, released a three-paragraph statement with some details about the release of the man named Obaidullah, AP reported, adding that there are 80 prisoners still held at the controversial Guantanamo prison, including 28 who have been cleared for release

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"The Periodic Review Board, by consensus, determined that continued law of war detention of the detainee does not remain necessary to protect against continuing significant threat to the security of the United States," the statement read. "The Board found that the risk of the detainee presents can be adequately mitigated," The Press Release added. 

Obaidullah was initially arrested by U.S. special forces in 2002 because unarmed land mines were found buried near his house. However, the U.S. government did not formally launch charges against him until 2008. 

"This young man should have been released years ago," Marine Maj. Derek Poteet, who has represented him since 2010, told the Miami Herald. 

Obama Never Had a Plan to End What Guantanamo Represents

Guantanamo has lately seen an uptick in prisoners recommended for release. There are currently 80 detainees remaining at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. In February U.S. President Barack Obama delivered a new plan to Congress to close Guantanamo. However, his proposal has again faced opposition among lawmakers.

The rejection to close down the prison is being led by Sen. Mitch McConnell (Ky.), who claims that shutting down Guantanamo would result in “bringing dangerous terrorists to facilities in U.S. communities.”

Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has also condemned Obama's plan to close down the prison in Cuba and has promised that if elected head of state in November he would keep it open and “load it up with some bad dudes.”

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