Gitmo review board clears detainee for release

A board tasked with reviewing Guantánamo Bay cases has cleared its first detainee to be transferred from the detention facility.

The Pentagon said Thursday that Guantánamo’s Periodic Review Board (PRB) had cleared Mahmoud Mujahid for release to a foreign country, after it determined he was no longer required to be detained under the laws of war.

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Mujahid, a Yemeni detainee who is an alleged former bodyguard of Osama bin Laden, was the first detainee’s case examined by the board.

The review board, which held a hearing on Mujahid’s case in November, said it reached a consensus that he could be released to the Yemeni government, if the security situation improves and a proper rehabilitation program is available. He could also be sent to a third country.

“By consensus, the PRB members found that continued law of war detention is no longer necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the United States and that Mujahid is therefore eligible for transfer subject to appropriate security and humane treatment conditions,” the Pentagon said.

With the review board’s announcement, Mujahid joins a list of 77 detainees of the 155 remaining at Guantánamo who have been cleared for release.

The Obama administration has stepped up the pace of transfers of the cleared detainees in recent months, as it ramps up its efforts to close the prison.

Most of the cleared detainees still at Guantánamo are from Yemen, where a moratorium on transfers was put in place in 2010. Obama lifted the moratorium last year, but transfers have not resumed there while the security situation remains uneasy.

Guantánamo’s review board plans to continue reviewing the cases of detainees who have not been cleared for transfer but are not being tried in a military tribunal.