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Guantanamo Bay detainee transfer to Saudi Arabia in progress
By Jeaneane Payne
Published March 9, 2023; 1:42 p.m.

The U.S. Military has repatriated Ghassan Al Sharbi from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Al Shari, 48, was held for 20 years under suspicion of making bombs for Al Qaeda. He was never brought to trial.

On February 4, 2022, the Periodic Review Board (PRB) process determined that continued law of war detention of Ghassan Al Sharbi was no longer necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the national security of the United States.

Al Shari became a person of interest following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 because he had taken flight school courses in Phoenix with two of the hijackers.

On September 21, 2022, Secretary of Defense Austin notified Congress of his intent to repatriate Ghassan Al Sharbi to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdom of Saudi of Arabia and other partners support ongoing U.S. efforts toward a deliberate and thorough process focused on responsibly reducing the detainee population and ultimately closing the Guantanamo Bay facility.

Today, 31 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay: 17 are eligible for transfer; 3 are eligible for a Periodic Review Board; 9 are involved in the military commissions process; and 2 detainees have been convicted in military commissions.


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