Trump administration transfers its first detainee out of Gitmo

Trump administration transfers its first detainee out of Gitmo
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The Pentagon has sent a Guantanamo Bay detainee to his home country of Saudi Arabia, the first transfer out of the detention facility since President TrumpDonald TrumpMeghan McCain: Democrats 'should give a little credit' to Trump for COVID-19 vaccine Trump testing czar warns lockdowns may be on table if people don't get vaccinated Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time' MORE took office.

The detainee, Ahmed al Darbi, was transferred to Saudi Arabia pursuant to a plea agreement he made in 2014.

“The Department of Defense announced today the transfer of Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Haza al Darbi from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “In a February 2014 plea, al Darbi pled guilty at a military commission. Now, having complied with the terms of that agreement, al Darbi will serve out the balance of his 13-year sentence in Saudi Arabia. He has waived his right to appeal.”


Al Darbi pleaded guilty before a military commission to charges related to helping plot a 2002 al Qaeda attack on a French oil tanker.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, he was to testify against two other Guantanamo detainees awaiting trials by the military tribunal. In exchange, he would be allowed to serve the remainder of his 13-year sentence in a rehabilitation program in Saudi Arabia.

His agreement stipulated he would be transferred four years after his guilty plea.

That date came in February, but he was not transferred at that time because the Pentagon said it was still awaiting “assurances” from Saudi Arabia.

Al Darbi’s transfer brings the population at Guantanamo down to 40 men.

“My words will not do justice to what I lived through in these years and to the men I leave behind in prison,” al Darbi said in a statement to The New York Times provided through his volunteer lawyer. “No one should remain at Guantánamo without a trial. There is no justice in that.”


The Pentagon said it notified Congress of the transfer “in accordance with statutory requirements.”

“The United States coordinated with the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to ensure the transfer took place in accordance with established standards for security and humane treatment,” the Pentagon said.

The news of al Darbi’s transfer comes after the Pentagon confirmed earlier Wednesday that Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisWant to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump Trump says Gen. Milley 'last person' he'd want to start a coup with Overnight Defense: Former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld dies at 88 | Trump calls on Milley to resign | House subpanel advances Pentagon spending bill MORE sent the White House his guidance on criteria for sending new individuals to Guantanamo without elaborating on the details of the guidance.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump promised to “load” Guantanamo “up with bad dudes,” though no one new has been sent there since he took office last year.