Afghan prisoner released from Guantanamo after 14 years


The US government has announced that an Afghan man who once faced war crimes charges has been cleared for release from the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

A statement announcing the decision to release the man, known by the single name of Obaidullah, was posted on a Pentagon website on Friday.

The Periodic Review Board, which conducts parole-style hearings for Guantanamo prisoners, determined it was no longer necessary to detain him.

The board found that “the risks that the detainee presents can be adequately mitigated,” according to the three-paragraph statement.

Obaidullah was captured by US forces during a raid in Afghanistan in July 2002 when he was about 19-years-old.

About 20 un-activated land mines were found near his home. US authorities said he was part of an al-Qaeda-linked cell, an allegation his lawyers have denied.

He was charged in US military tribunals in September 2008 with conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism.

However, the US government dismissed the charges in 2011 and his lawyers have been pressing for his release ever since.

As many as 775 detainees were brought to the notorious prison, which was set up after the September 11, 2001 attacks. There are about 80 detainees left at the prison.

US President Barack Obama had promised to close the Guantanamo Bay prison during the 2008 presidential election campaign, citing its damage to the US reputation abroad.

However, the president has failed to deliver on his campaign promise partly due to stiff opposition from Congress.

The Obama administration has transferred most detainees to other countries, but there is a small number of detainees who the administration says it would like to detain in a US facility for national security reasons.

A Senate report in December 2014 revealed that the CIA has used a wide array of sexual abuse and other forms of torture as part of its interrogation methods against Guantanamo prisoners.