Guantánamo

Guantánamo parole board clears another Saudi ‘forever prisoner’

Saudi Mohammed Shimrani, now 40, was approved for release Sept. 11, 2015. This photo was attached to his leaked October 2008 Guantánamo profile.
Saudi Mohammed Shimrani, now 40, was approved for release Sept. 11, 2015. This photo was attached to his leaked October 2008 Guantánamo profile.

A U.S. parole board has cleared another captive from Saudi Arabia once suspected of being part of Osama bin Laden’s security detail for release from Guantánamo to the kingdom’s rehabilitation program.

The board lifted the “forever prisoner” status of Mohammed Shimrani, 40, on Sept. 11 but disclosed it two weeks later, days after Saudi Arabia picked up another long-held captive who was brought to Camp X-Ray in Cuba in the first week of operations, like many, as a suspected bin Laden bodyguard.

The decision meant that 53 of Guantánamo’s 114 detainees are cleared for release, once the State Department negotiates security assurances that satisfy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. Now, 10 others are in war court proceedings, and 51 other captives are in a continue-to-detain status, 29 of them indefinite detainees, forever prisoners.

The parole board said in a brief, three-paragraph decision that it had faith in the Saudi rehabilitation program and the kingdom’s ability to subsequently monitor Shimrani’s movements.

It also said that the Saudi admitted to being a former combatant but was more inclined to spend time with family than jihad or on the battlefield.

Shimrani’s attorney, Martha Rayner, said by email that the Saudi “looks forward to participating in the Saudi rehabilitation program and reuniting with his family.”

In August, a U.S. military officer assigned to argue on behalf of Shimrani said the captive “has slipped quietly into middle age” in his 13 years of U.S. detention. Shimrani sat beside the officer, unlike at an earlier June 2014 hearing, when the captive refused to attend to protest the Army policy of conducting “humiliating and degrading” hand searches of captives’ genitals — a practice the prison has apparently modified.

Carol Rosenberg: 305-376-3179, @carolrosenberg

  Comments