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U.S. Clears For Release Long-Time Guantánamo Inmate Never Charged With A Crime

In a rare development at the U.S. military court in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, a prisoner who has been held there for more than 18 years despite never having been criminally charged has been cleared for release.

The Yemeni man in his mid-40s, known variously as Said Salih Said Nashir and Hani Saleh Rashid Abdullah, was accused of being an al-Qaida operative. But Guantánamo's Periodic Review Board, which functions like a parole board, now says he is no longer a significant threat to the United States.

He is only the second Guantánamo prisoner to be cleared for release during the Trump administration, and the first during Trump's presidency to be cleared through this parole-like process. (The previous prisoner cleared for release, Ahmed Muhammed Haza al-Darbi, had been criminally charged by the military court, pleaded guilty, received a 13-year sentence and was then transferred to Saudi Arabia by the Pentagon in 2018.)

It is unclear when Nashir/Abdullah may be transferred out of Guantánamo and where he would go; the State Department is responsible for negotiating his transfer to another country with "robust security assurances," including monitoring and travel restrictions.

Nashir/Abdullah has been known as one of Guantánamo's "forever prisoners," who are being held there without charge or trial, some for nearly two decades. Including Nashir/Abdullah, there are now 40 prisoners remaining at Gitmo.

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