AP

US sends home Algerian held nearly 20 years at Guantanamo

Apr 2, 2022, 11:26 AM | Updated: Apr 4, 2022, 4:56 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — An Algerian man imprisoned at the Guantanamo Bay detention center for nearly 20 years has been released and sent back to his homeland.

The Department of Defense announced Saturday that Sufyian Barhoumi was repatriated with assurances from the Algerian government that he would be treated humanely there and that security measures would be imposed to reduce the risk that he could pose a threat in the future.

The Pentagon did not provide details about those security measures, which could include restrictions on travel.

Barhoumi was captured in Pakistan and taken to the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2002. The United States eventually determined he was involved with various extremist groups but was not a member of al-Qaida or the Taliban, according to a report by a review board at the prison that approved him for release in 2016.

U.S. authorities attempted to prosecute Barhoumi in 2008 but the effort was dropped amid legal challenges to the initial version of the military commission system set up under President George W. Bush.

In the final days of Barack Obama’s presidency in January 2017, a federal judge in Washington declined to intervene in the Pentagon’s decision not to repatriate Barhoumi, whose lawyer said he had expected his client to be released and that the prisoner’s family had begun making preparations for his return, including by buying him a car and a small restaurant for him to run.

The Justice Department said then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter rejected the release of Barhoumi on Jan. 12, 2017, “based on a variety of substantive concerns, shared by multiple agencies,” without going into detail.

Barhoumi, who lost four fingers in a land mine explosion in Afghanistan, offered to plead guilty to any charges in 2012 in hopes he could receive a fixed sentence and return to his elderly mother, according to his attorney, Shayana Kadidal of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

“Our government owes Sufyian and his mother years of their lives back,” Kadidal said. “I’m overjoyed that he will be home with his family, but I will dearly miss his constant good humor and empathy for the suffering of others in the utterly depressing environment of Guantánamo.”

The effort to resettle prisoners languished under President Donald Trump. The Biden administration is attempting again to reduce the number of men held at Guantanamo as part of a broader effort to close the facility.

Barhoumi’s release brings the total held at the U.S. base in Cuba to 37 men, including 18 who have been deemed eligible for repatriation or resettlement in a third country.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A anti-abortion supporter stands outside the House chamber, Wednesday, April 17, 2024, at the Capit...

Associated Press

Democrats clear path to bring proposed repeal of Arizona’s near-total abortion ban to a vote

Democrats in the Arizona Senate cleared a path to bring a proposed repeal of the state’s near-total ban on abortions to a vote.

14 hours ago

Most Americans are sleepy new Gallup poll finds...

Associated Press

Most Americans say they don’t get enough sleep, according to new Gallup poll

A new Gallup poll found that most Americans are sleepy — or, at least, they say they are. Multiple factors play into this.

3 days ago

Near-total abortion ban in Arizona dates back to Civil War era...

Associated Press

Near-total abortion ban dates back to 1864, during the Civil War, before Arizona was a state

The near-total abortion ban resurrected last week by the Arizona Supreme Court dates to 1864, when settlers were encroaching on tribal lands.

3 days ago

Tracy Toulou...

Associated Press

How to tackle crime in Indian Country? Empower tribal justice, ex-Justice Department official says

A recently retired director of the Justice Dept. says the federal government hasn't given tribal justice systems equal recognition.

4 days ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson...

Associated Press

House Speaker Mike Johnson says he will push for aid to Israel and Ukraine this week

House Speaker Mike Johnson said Sunday he will try to advance wartime aid for Israel this week, along with funding for Ukraine.

4 days ago

President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally Saturday, March 9, 2024, at Pullman Yards in Atlanta...

Associated Press

US shoots down ‘nearly all’ Iran-launched attack drones as Biden vows support for Israel’s defense

Joe Biden cut short a weekend stay at his beach house to meet with his national security team as Iran launched an attack against Israel.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

US sends home Algerian held nearly 20 years at Guantanamo