Guantánamo Parole Board Declares Libyan Detainee ‘Forever Prisoner’

An al-Qaeda-linked Libyan prisoner, currently held at the U.S. military detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has been declared too dangerous to release by President Barack Obama’s parole-style board, according to the Pentagon.

The decision by the Periodic Review Board (PRB) to declare the 48-year-old Libyan detainee, Ismael Ali Faraj Ali Bakush, unsuitable for release does not necessarily mean he will remain imprisoned indefinitely.

Obama’s PRB has cleared for transfer and even released some detainees who have been previously designated “forever prisoners.”

In fact, the Obama administration released two such prisoners on Saturday, just days before the board made its determination on the Libyan jihadist.

“Forever prisoner” describes “an indefinite detainee considered too dangerous to release but never charged with a crime,” notes the Miami Herald.

Bakush, one of two Libyans held at the prison, will be able to get another hearing in three years under the PRB process.

The board has been recently approving the majority of detainee requests for release. Obama has vowed to shut down the Guantánamo prison, also known as Gitmo.

The recent decision by the panel came on Tuesday, a day after the Pentagon announced the largest detainee transfer under the president.

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) revealed that 12 Yemenis, including two “forever prisoners,” and three Afghans were transferred to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Saturday.

The release reduced the overall prison population at Gitmo to 61, including 14 who are “secluded in a secret site at Guantánamo” and 47 who are considered “low-value detainees,” reports the Miami Herald.

In a statement announcing its decision to approve Bakush for indefinite detention, the PRB notes:

In making this determination, the Board considered the detainee’s long history of working with the LIFG [Libyan Islamic Fighting Group] and al-Qa’ida and the fact that he played a significant role in al-Qa’ida operations, including his role as an explosives expert and trainer.

The Board also noted the detainee’s lack of candor and evasive, implausible, and frequently absurd responses to questions regarding his past activities, and beliefs. Further, the Board considered the detainee’s minimal efforts in preparing for the [PRB] review process, the detainee’s lack of effort to prepare for life after detention while at Guantanamo and the detainee’s failure to present a plan for life after transfer.

Due to the detainee’s lack of truthfulness, the Board is unable to assess his intentions for the future and whether he has had a change in mindset.

Bakush was taken to Gitmo on August 5, 2002.

According to a U.S. military intelligence profile issued in May, he was affiliated with both al-Qaeda and the LIFG, a jihadist group that was added to the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations in December 2004 and removed in December 2015.

Bakush was never officially charged with a crime.

The Miami Herald reports:

The [PRB] decision, posted on a Pentagon website Tuesday, made Bakush the 18th captive to lose his bid for release at the board President Barack Obama ordered set up in 2011. It was his first appearance before the board.


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