Politics

'High-Risk' Al Qaeda Prisoners Released From Guantanamo Bay

| by Kathryn Schroeder

Six prisoners have been released from Guantanamo Bay prison, including former al Qaeda members that worked with Osama bin Laden and Abu Zubaydah.

According to The Daily Mail, an administration task force found in 2009 that the prisoners no longer posed a “great enough threat” to be kept at Guantanamo Bay indefinitely. Just one year before, classified documents deemed them high-risk and likely to re-engage in hostile action towards the United States and its allies.

One of the released prisoners, Muhammed Murdi Issa Al-Zahrani, admitted to being an al Qaeda member and helped plan the assassination of Afghan warlord Ahmad Shah Massoud.

Al-Zahrani will be sent home to participate in a Saudi program to rehabilitate militants, reports Washington Examiner.

Another of the freed prisoners, Yemeni citizen Abdel Ghaib Ahmad Hakim, was found by the Department of Defense to be “a member of al Qaeda who reportedly accompanied Osama bin Laden throughout Afghanistan.”

Yemeni citizen Husayn Salim Muhammad Al-Mutari Yafai was also released. He was an al Qaeda forger. The Department of Defense referred to him as “an al Qaeda facilitator located in Iran providing travel and false travel documents to Arab extremists attempting to enter Afghanistan.”

“If released without rehabilitation, close supervision, and means to successfully reintegrate into his society as a law-abiding citizen,” a supplemental Pentagon report read in relation to Al-Mutari Yafai. “It is assessed detainee would seek out prior associates and reengage in hostilities and extremist support activities at home and abroad.”

Tunisian prisoner Hashim Bin Ali Bin Amor Sliti reportedly was involved in a failed terrorist attack against U.S. military personnel at the Klein Brogel Air Base in Belgium. He too was considered a high-risk prisoner, and “holds anti-US sentiment and on more than one occasion has threatened to kill members of the guard force.”

All of the prisoners, except Al-Zahrani, were released to either Slovakia or Georgia.

The transfers of prisoners out of Guantanamo Bay has many U.S. politicians outraged.

“…As long as detainees are rejoining the battlefield, these transfers must stop,” said Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), chair of the House Armed Services Committee. “I have written to Secretary [Chuck] Hagel expressing my frustration and great concern over a new swell of recidivism. If just one U.S. soldier loses their life over these transfers, we will have failed in our duty to the American people.

"What the Obama Administration is doing is dangerous and, frankly, reckless. They have chosen many times to put politics above national security. It’s time they stop playing with fire and start doing what’s right. Until we can assure the terrorists stay off the battlefield, they must stay behind bars."

McKeon is not alone in his dislike of President Obama’s freeing of prisoners.

“For years, we’ve seen the president put politics over America’s national security by releasing Guantanamo Bay detainees and transferring them to other nations,” said Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA). “These are dangerous terrorists who will continue to plot ways to harm and kill Americans, just like previous detainees released to foreign countries who have reengaged in terrorism.”

The freeing of Guantanamo Bay prisoners is part of President Obama’s administration’s efforts to close the prison, as promised.

It has been confirmed that 107 of the 620 prisoners released from Guantanamo Bay, 17.3 percent, have returned to terrorism as of July 15, 2014. Another 77, or 12.4%, are suspected of having done so.

Sources: Washington Examiner, The Daily Mail / Photo Source: The Daily Mail