Abdel Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab al Rahabi received specialized close combat training for a role as a suicide operative in an aborted component of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, according to military records.
WASHINGTON (Talk Media News) – A Yemeni Guantanamo inmate suspected of being Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard has been transferred to Montenegro as part of the Obama administration’s effort to close the detention center on the U.S. base in Cuba, the Pentagon announced Wednesday.
Abdel Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab al Rahabi, who is believed to be in his thirties, had been held at Guantanamo for 14 years. He was suspected of being the bodyguard for Osama bin Laden’s, according to military documents obtained by The New York Times. His transfer brings the number of detainees down to 79 at Guantanamo.
“The United States is grateful to the Government of Montenegro for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
“The United States coordinated with the Government of Montenegro to ensure this transfer took place consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures.”
Rahabi received specialized close combat training for a role as a suicide operative in an aborted component of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, according to the military documents.
He was one of the “Dirty 30” sent to Guantanamo to be interrogated on suspicion of being part of bin Laden’s security detail in Afghanistan.
He was captured in Pakistan in December 2001 after allegedly fleeing bin Laden’s compound in the Tora Bora Mountains with the other members of the “Dirty 30,” according to the documents. Pakistani authorities transferred him to U.S. holding days later.
Umar’s transfer was approved under a Periodic Review Board established by executive order in 2011, according to the statement from the Pentagon.
The review board – with representatives from the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and State; the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence – “determined continued law of war detention of al Rahabi does not remain necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States.”
President Barack Obama has been working to close the detention center, in line with a promise he made while campaigning in 2008.
Under a closure plan he sent to Congress in February, eligible detainees are to be transferred or prosecuted and the remaining people moved to an alternate site within the U.S.
This movement to the U.S. is barred under the current defense policy bill. Additional legislation would be needed to change this.
The transfer to third party countries has come under greater scrutiny in the past several weeks, following a report by The Washington Post that found that about a dozen detainees released under President George W. Bush have gone on to launch attacks that have killed about a half dozen Americans.
In a statement, Montenegro said that it “took on the responsibility of re-socialisation” of Rahabi.
“The persons in question will eventually be free to choose the country they want to live in,” the statement said. “Montenegro has joined this initiative driven by the principles of solidarity and humanity, to which it is bound by membership in the U.N. Human Rights Council, and especially the humanitarian character of this programme.”
Montenegro previously accepted another Guantanamo detainee, Yemeni national Abdul Aziz Abdullah Ali al Suadi, 42.