Guantánamo Parole Board Upholds Detention of Bin Laden Bodyguard

On Thursday, the Pentagon released the decision of the Guantánamo parole board that Yemeni national Muhammed al-Ansi, 40, would remain a “forever prisoner,” despite appeals from former president Jimmy Carter’s organization for his release.

The Miami Herald reports Ansi was brought to the Guantánamo Bay prison facility in 2002 after he was captured by Pakistani forces, one of 30 men described as bodyguards for al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden.

In 2015, a U.S. intelligence assessment said he “probably fought U.S. forces invading Afghanistan at Tora Bora and was at one time possibly considered for a suicide mission.”

On the other hand, Ansi is described as “mostly well-behaved” during his 15 years at Gitmo, and has reportedly used his time to study “math, science, English, Spanish, life skills, computers, health and art.”

A lawyer working with the Carter Center in Atlanta testified to Ansi’s respect for “American culture,” including the Fast and Furious movies and the Walking Dead TV show. The Carter Center had pledged to help Ansi transition into civilian life, wherever he might ultimately have been sent.

The Herald also mentions that he appears to have some sort of “chronic health condition.”

In a previous report, the Miami Herald noted that some of the other alleged “bin Laden bodyguards” captured along with Ansi are no longer described as such by the parole board and have been approved for transfer, but evidently Ansi will retain his designation as a “forever prisoner,” at least until his next review in six months.

In its brief statement on the case, the Guantánamo parole board cited “the significant derogatory information regarding the detainee’s past activities in Afghanistan” and also his “lack of candor resulting in an inability to assess the detainee’s credibility, and therefore his future intentions.”


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