First high-value Guantánamo detainee cleared for transfer

Guled Duran, who was been held at Guantánamo Bay since 2006 without being charged, was approved for transfer in November, making him the first high-value prisoner at the facility recommended for release, The New York Times reported

Duran's lawyer told the Times his client was informed on Monday of the decision by the Periodic Review Board at Guantánamo Bay.

According to a document obtained by the Times verifying Duran’s transfer clearance, "continued law of war detention is no longer necessary to protect against continuing significant threat to the security of the United States."

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It added that “vigorous efforts will be undertaken to identify a suitable transfer location ... outside the United States, subject to appropriate security and human treatment assurances.”

Duran, who is from Somalia, was detained in Djibouti in 2004 and spent more than two years in CIA custody before being sent to Guantánamo Bay, where he has been held without charge since September 2006.

When asked for comment on the recommendation for Duran's release, Pentagon spokesman John KirbyJohn KirbyOvernight Defense & National Security — US, Russia meet during 'critical' point US sends aircraft carrier group to Mediterranean as Russia threat looms Lawmakers press Biden admin to send more military aid to Ukraine MORE said, “The administration remains dedicated to closing the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay. Nothing has changed about that.”

Duran is one of 39 detainees still being held at Guantánamo. The Biden administration has transferred one detainee thus far.

United States diplomats need to find countries to accept the detainees after approval for transfer. Security guarantees from these countries must be approved by Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinOvernight Defense & National Security — White House raises new alarm over Russia GOP lawmakers press administration on US weapons left behind in Afghanistan Overnight Defense & National Security — Texas hostage situation rattles nation MORECongress must also be provided 30 days’ notice before the transfer of a detainee.

Duran’s lawyer, Shayana Kadidal of the Center for Constitutional Rights, said his client has “good options” for potential transfer countries. Duran previously lived in Sweden and has relatives in Canada.

There is a prohibition against the transfer of detainees to Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia, where Duran is from.