US confirms release of oldest Guantanamo bay prisoner — a 73-year-old Pakistani man
The US government has approved the release of Guantanamo Bay’s oldest prisoner Saifullah Paracha, who is from Pakistan.
Paracha was detained in Thailand in 2003 on suspicion of having links to al-Qaeda. He was then transferred to Guantanamo Bay detention center in the United States in 2004.
The 73-year-old has been held at Guantanamo Bay for more than 16 years. He was a Pakistani businessman.
He was never charged with a crime. A US prisoners review board cleared him along with two other men.
Authorities alleged he was an al-Qaeda “facilitator” who helped two conspirators in the 9/11 plot with a financial transaction. He says he didn’t know they were al-Qaida and denies any involvement in terrorism.
Paracha’s lawyers believe he will be released within the next few months.
Detailed reasons for Paracha’s release were not disclosed. The notification for release concluded that Paracha is “not a continuing threat” to the US, his lawyer said.
In November, Paracha, who suffers from several ailments, including diabetes and a heart condition, made his eighth appearance before the review board.
The board was established under the former US President, Barack Obama, to prevent the release of prisoners who authorities believed might engage in anti-US hostilities upon their release from Guantanamo.
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