Yemeni prisoner released after 15 years in Guantánamo without charge

By agency reporter
January 19, 2017

A Yemeni man was among ten prisoners released on 16 January 2016 from Guantánamo Bay to Oman, the US Department of Defense has confirmed.

Salman Rabei‘i was just 22 years old when he was picked up by Afghan forces, passed to the US military and sent to Guantánamo Bay in May 2002. The US was offering substantial payments in exchange for prisoners at that time, and Rabei'i was tortured while in US custody. After almost 15 years of imprisonment, he has never been charged with a crime.

Last month, Salman was cleared for release by six government agencies – including the CIA and Department of Defense – who reviewed his case and found that he was no threat to the United States.

Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, an attorney at the Human Rights organisation Reprieve, took on Salman Rabei'i's case in summer 2016. At his Periodic Review Board hearing in July, Shelby cited his good record of behavior at Guantanamo and explained that post-release Rabei'i would benefit from the support of his stable and loving family. She described how Reprieve’s Life After Guantanamo resettlement programme could help Salman reintegrate into normal life.

Of the 799 prisoners originally sent to the US military prison at Guantánamo Bay by the Bush Administration , 45 still remain.

Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, said:  “We welcome Salman‘s release, which is nearly 15 years overdue. Barely an adult when he entered, Salman leaves Guantanamo now a grown man, having had almost half his life stolen from him. It takes a relentless spirit to endure the damage that over a decade in Guantanamo does, and that he has. A shy and smart man, our hopes for his future are high and bright.  His large and loving family will rejoice at the news of his freedom.”

* Reprieve

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