A Guantanamo Bay prisoner from Algeria has been released after nearly 20 years of imprisonment. He was sent back to Algeria.
The Department of Defense announced that Sufyian barhoumi had been repatriated. He was given assurances by the Algerian government that his treatment would be humane and that security measures would also be taken to minimize the possibility that he might pose a risk in the future.
The Pentagon didn’t provide any details on these security measures. This could include travel restrictions.
Barhoumi was taken captive in Pakistan and brought to Guantanamo Bay (Cuba) in 2002. According to a 2016 report from the prison review board, the United States determined that Barhoumi was involved in various extremist groups, but he wasn’t a member al-Qaida nor the Taliban.
In 2008, U.S. authorities tried to prosecute Barhoumi but it was canceled due to legal challenges to the original version of the military commission system established under President George W. Bush.
A federal judge in Washington refused to intervene in the Pentagon’s decision to not repatriate Barhoumi in January 2017. His lawyer stated that he expected his client would be released. The prisoner’s family had already begun to prepare for his return by purchasing a car and a small business for him to operate.
Without going into details, the Justice Department stated that Ash Carter, then Defense Secretary, had rejected Barhoumi’s release on Jan. 12, 2017.
Barhoumi lost four fingers in an Afghanistan landmine explosion and offered to plead guilty in 2012 to all charges. He hoped to receive a fixed sentence to return to his mother.
Kadidal stated that Sufyian’s mother and government owe them years of their lives back. “I am overjoyed that he is home with his family. But, I will miss his good humor and compassion for others in the depressing Guantanamo environment.”
Under President Donald Trump, the effort to resettle inmates has stalled. As part of a larger effort to close Guantanamo, the Biden administration has attempted to reduce Guantanamo’s men detained.
Barhoumi’s freedom brings the total number of Cuban men held at the U.S. military base to 37, with 18 eligible for repatriation in third countries.