Yemeni Gitmo detainee transfered to Montenegro

Yemeni Gitmo detainee transfered to Montenegro
© Getty

A Yemeni detainee at Guantánamo Bay has been transferred to Montenegro, the Pentagon announced Wednesday night.

Abdel Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab Al Rahabi, 37, had been held at Guantánamo for 14 years as a suspected bodyguard of Osama bin Laden.


Al Rahabi’s transfer brings the number of detainees remaining at Guantánamo to 79.

“The United States is grateful to the Government of Montenegro for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility,” the Pentagon said in an announcement.

“The United States coordinated with the Government of Montenegro to ensure this transfer took place consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures.”

In a 2008 military file published by The New York Times, al Rahabi was alleged to be a member of al Qaeda and a former bin Laden bodyguard. He also allegedly received specialized close combat training for a role as a suicide operative in an aborted component of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to the file.

He was captured in Pakistan in December 2001 after allegedly fleeing bin Laden’s Tora Bora compound in the White Mountains, according to the file.

He was one of the “Dirty 30” sent to Guantánamo to be interrogated on suspicion of being part of bin Laden’s security detail in Afghanistan.

In its announcement, the Pentagon said al Rahabi was transferred after the consensus of a Period Review Board, a parole-like board that consists of representatives from the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and State; the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The review board determined that continuing to detain al Rahabi “does not remain necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States,” the announcement said.

The Obama administration has been working to empty the detention facility as much as it can by transferring those who have been cleared to foreign countries.

But the transfers to third countries have taken on renewed opposition in Congress in recent weeks after a report that about a dozen former detainees have gone on to launch attacks that have killed about a half-dozen Americans.

In a statement, Montenegro said it took in al Rahabi for humanitarian reasons and that he will be “re-socialized” before being free to move.

“The persons in question will eventually be free to choose the country they want to live in,” the country’s statement said. “Montenegro has joined this initiative driven by the principles of solidarity and humanity, to which it is bound by membership in the [United Nations] Human Rights Council, and especially the humanitarian character of this programme."