The Afghan captive who invited the rap singer Ludacris to stop by the detention center has lost his parole hearing.
The Periodic Review Board said Haroon al-Afghani lacked “credibility and truthfulness” at his June 14 hearing. “The board is unable to assess the detainee’s intentions for the future and claimed change of mindset,” it said in a decision released by the Pentagon on Friday. It was dated eight days earlier.
The thirty-something man was captured by Afghan security forces and handed over to the United States, which brought him to Guantánamo on June 22, 2007 — one of the last captives brought to this detention center of 76 prisoners.
The U.S. military considers Afghani to be a former Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, or HIG, commander who organized and led attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The board “noted the detainee’s lack of a realistic plan for the future,” his “long-term membership and leadership position” in HIG and “extensive time spent fighting coalition forces.”
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His lawyer, Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, told the U.S. interagency review panel that Afghani’s wife and daughter are in Pakistan, and he feels “immensely guilty” about leaving them “to fend for themselves.” He also has a sister in London. “He wants nothing more than to return to his wife and family.”
A 2009-2010 Task Force deemed him a possible candidate for war crimes or federal court prosecution. But he has never been charged. The decision essentially rebrands him as a “forever prisoner,” an indefinite detainee in the war on terror.
Earlier this month, in an apparent effort to show how westernized he’d become in U.S. custody, Sullivan-Bennis said that she’d discussed the base’s Fourth of July concert featuring Ludacris with her client — and the captive expressed interest in meeting him.
It didn’t happen. The artist, who has been working on “Fast and Furious 8,” made a quick visit to the base, stayed in a townhouse complex more typically used by lawyers and Sept. 11 families, and stopped by the Radio Gitmo station, where he signed a T-shirt.
Here is the status of the last 76 detainees at Guantánamo as of Saturday:
▪ 31 are cleared for release with security assurances that satisfy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. (Of them, 18 were cleared through the Periodic Review Board.)
▪ 14 are PRB-approved forever prisoners,
▪ 21 await a PRB hearing or decision,
▪ 10 are in some form of a military commissions process that denies them parole hearings.