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Pakistan: Oldest prisoner free of Guantanamo, again dwelling



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ISLAMABAD — A 74-year-old from Pakistan who was the oldest prisoner on the Guantanamo Bay detention middle was launched and returned to Pakistan on Saturday, the international ministry in Islamabad mentioned.

Saifullah Paracha was reunited together with his household after greater than 17 years in custody within the U.S. base in Cuba, the ministry added.

Paracha had been held on suspicion of ties to al-Qaida since 2003, however was by no means charged with against the law. Final yr in Could, he was notified that he had been been accredited for launch. He was cleared by the prisoner evaluate board, together with two different males in November 2020.

As is customary, the notification didn’t present detailed reasoning for the choice and concluded solely that Paracha is “not a seamless menace” to the USA, based on Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, who represented him at his listening to on the time.

In Pakistan, the Ministry of International Affairs, mentioned it had accomplished an intensive inter-agency course of to facilitate Paracha’s repatriation.

“We’re glad {that a} Pakistani citizen detained overseas is lastly reunited together with his household,” the ministry mentioned.

Paracha, who lived in the USA and owned property in New York Metropolis, was a rich businessman in Pakistan. Authorities alleged he was an al-Qaida “facilitator” who helped two of the conspirators within the Sept. 11 plot with a monetary transaction.

He has maintained that he didn’t know they had been al-Qaida and denied any involvement in terrorism.

The U.S. captured Paracha in Thailand in 2003 and held him at Guantanamo since September 2004. Washington has lengthy asserted that it may possibly maintain detainees indefinitely with out cost beneath the worldwide legal guidelines of conflict.

In November 2020, Paracha, who suffers from various illnesses, together with diabetes and a coronary heart situation, made his eighth look earlier than the evaluate board, which was established beneath President Barack Obama to attempt to forestall the discharge of prisoners who authorities believed would possibly have interaction in anti-U.S. hostilities upon their launch from Guantanamo.

On the time, his legal professional, Sullivan-Bennis, mentioned she was extra optimistic about his prospects due to President Joe Biden’s election, Paracha’s sick well being and developments in a authorized case involving his son, Uzair Paracha.

The son was convicted in 2005 in federal court docket in New York of offering help to terrorism, based mostly partly on testimony from the identical witnesses held at Guantanamo whom the U.S. relied on to justify holding the daddy.

In March 2020, after a choose threw out these witness accounts and the U.S. authorities determined to not search a brand new trial, the youthful Paracha was launched and despatched again to Pakistan.

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