Man released from Guantánamo in December dies in Kazakhstan

A man who was released from the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in December and resettled in Kazakhstan has died in that Central Asian country, a Pentagon spokesman said Friday.

Asim Thabit Abdullah al-Khalaqi, who was about 47, according to military records, died May 7, Army Lt. Col. Myles Caggins said. He did not provide a cause of death. The British newspaper the Guardian reported that it was from kidney failure, citing another former prisoner.

Khalaqi, who was from Yemen, was held for a dozen years without charge at Guantánamo. He was resettled in Kazakhstan, along with two other Yemenis and two Tunisians, because U.S. authorities concluded they could not be repatriated.

That resettlement got off to a rocky start as the U.S. Air Force flight meant to carry them to their new starts in life circled back to the base with an equipment problem. Kazakhstan took them in as asylum seekers.

Caggins said Khalaqi got “outstanding medical care” while he was at Guantánamo and received a health screening before he left. “Mr. al-Khalaqi would not have been transferred if he failed the health screening,” he said.

The U.S. holds 122 prisoners at Guantánamo. The detention center opened in January 2002 to hold detainees suspected of involvement with al-Qaida and the Taliban. President Barack Obama has sought to close it since taking office but has been blocked by Congress.