Guantánamo

Guantánamo board declares 3 former CIA captives ‘forever prisoners’

From left, Malaysian Bashir Lap, Libyan Mustafa Abu Faraj al-Libi and Malaysian Mohd Farik Bin Amin in photos from their 2008 Guantánamo prison profiles provided to McClatchy by WikiLeaks.
From left, Malaysian Bashir Lap, Libyan Mustafa Abu Faraj al-Libi and Malaysian Mohd Farik Bin Amin in photos from their 2008 Guantánamo prison profiles provided to McClatchy by WikiLeaks.

The Guantánamo parole board has declared three former CIA captives — two Malaysians and a Libyan — too dangerous to release in decisions disclosed by the Pentagon on Wednesday.

Former Black Site captives Mohammed Bashir Bin Lap, 39, and Mohd Farik Bin Amin, 41, agreed to be part of a suicide operation, according to their brief Periodic Review Board decisions dated Sept. 15.

Also, the Libyan known as Mustafa Abu Faraj al Libi, 45, boycotted his April 5 hearing and has continued to offer “statements supporting extremist activity, such as praising attacks against Western targets, to include 9/11,” according to a decision to continue to hold him. It described him as a “trusted adviser” go-between for Osama bin Laden and his successor Ayman al Zawahiri.

See our Guide to the parole board decisions.

All three men got to Guantánamo a decade ago by order of President George W. Bush. None has ever been charged with a crime, although a 2009 federal task force said they should be considered for prosecutions.

The latest decisions mean that 23 of Guantánamo’s 61 remaining detainees are board-approved law of war detainees, colloquially known as “forever prisoners” in the war on terror. Twenty of the 61 have been approved for transfer to another country with security arrangements that satisfy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. Ten others are in military commissions proceedings, and eight await decisions from the inter-agency review panel.

To date, none of the former CIA captives brought to the base in 2006 or later as “high-value detainees” has been cleared for release.

But the board appeared to suggest that one of the Malaysians could some day be cleared. Its statement said it “looks forward” to reviewing Lap’s file in six months and invited information from his family and Malaysian government officials about potential rehabilitation and post-Guantánamo support for Lap, who has also been known as “Lillie.”

It was less encouraging about Amin, known as “Zubair,” who the board described as a compliant but ideologically problematic captive at Guantánamo. It noted “his general candor regarding his past activities,” opinion that “operations targeting the military are legitimate, including the attack on the USS Cole,” and “feeling of an obligation to defend and support oppressed Muslims.”

Carol Rosenberg: 305-376-3179, @carolrosenberg

Additional reading

The Miami Herald’s Periodic Review Board Guide to the last 61 detainee dispositions.

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