The Trump administration allowed its first transfer of a detainee from Guantanamo Bay on Wednesday, sending Saudi-born Ahmed Mohammed Haza al Darbi to serve the remaining of his prison sentence in his home country.
The department of defense announced on Wednesday that Al Darbi will be transferred to the Kingdom, in the first move of its kind since Mr Trump assumed office on January 20.
The statement said that Mr al Darbi, who is 43 years old, will “serve out the balance of his 13-year sentence in Saudi Arabia”. He pleaded guilty in 2014, and therefore has to serve nine more years in prison.
“The United States coordinated with the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to ensure the transfer took place in accordance with established standards for security and humane treatment,” the Pentagon said.
With the release, 40 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay, compared to 780 when the facility first opened in 2002. Fourteen of the remaining 40 come from Yemen.
The transfer reflects a change of policy from Mr Trump. On January 17, he tweeted: “There should be no further releases from Gitmo. These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield.”
Also on Wednesday, CNN reported that the “Pentagon has delivered its recommendations for new policies regarding detainees captured on the battlefield and the transfer of those individuals to Guantanamo Bay,” based on a request from Mr Trump.
The cost of keeping the camp open is estimated at $445 million a year by Human Rights First, an average of $11 million a detainee per year.
Source Credit: The National