It has been announced that two brothers imprisoned in the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison of America will be transferred to Pakistan after 20 years.
The US Department of Defense announced on Thursday, February 23, that two Pakistani brothers, Muhammad Ahmed Ghulam Rabbani and Abdul Rahim Ghulam Rabbani, are being transferred to Pakistan after spending 20 years at the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba.
The American authorities detained the two brothers on charges of working for the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and providing safe havens to suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan.
Later review reports revealed that he was unaware of al-Qaeda’s operational plans.
On January 18, 2023, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin notified Congress of his intention to hand over Abdul Rabbani and Muhammad Rabbani to the government of Pakistan, in consultation with Pakistani partners, according to a statement issued by the Pentagon on Thursday. , and met the requirements for transfer.
The statement said that the United States appreciates the continued support of the Government of Pakistan and other partners in efforts to reduce the number of prisoners at Guantanamo and ultimately close the prison.
On May 13, 2021 and August 17, 2021, following review committee action pursuant to Executive Order 13567, it was determined that Abdul Rabbani and Muhammad Rabbani no longer pose a threat to the national security of the United States, the statement said. Therefore, the final decision of his transfer to Pakistan was taken on October 7, 2021.
Who are these two brothers?
The Pentagon said Muhammad Ahmed Ghulam Rabbani, 53, and Abdul Rahim Ghulam Rabbani, 55, had been held at Guantanamo for more than two decades. Both have not been charged yet. The two brothers were detained by the Pakistani intelligence agency in Karachi in 2002 and then handed over to the US authorities in Afghanistan, from where they were transferred to Guantanamo Bay in 2004.
Rabbani and his brother have also been on a prolonged hunger strike at Guantanamo, during which they were force-fed.
He has accused American officials of torture and ill-treatment. According to a report by the US Senate Intelligence Committee, Mohammad Rabbani’s name is also among 17 prisoners who were tortured in secret CIA prisons abroad, known as black sites.
US President Joe Biden came with a promise to try to close Guantanamo Bay. These days, the process of release from Guantanamo prison or transfer to another country has accelerated. Earlier, the Pentagon has released or transferred two more Pakistani prisoners. 75-year-old Saifullah Paracha was repatriated in October last year.
In early February this year, another Pakistani prisoner, Majid Khan, was transferred from Guantanamo Bay to the Caribbean country of Belize after 16 years. Majid Khan is the first “high value detainee” to be released from Guantanamo. Majid is also the first prisoner transferred by the Biden administration to a country other than his own.
Majid Khan was arrested in Pakistan in 2003 and handed over to the CIA. He was imprisoned in Guantanamo since 2006. Majid was accused of planning war crimes in 2002 with al-Qaeda. These included murder, attempted murder, terrorist financing and espionage.
According to US records, he admitted to a military tribunal in 2012 that he volunteered for al-Qaeda after the September 11 attacks.
Why was Guantanamo prison established?
The Guantanamo Bay camp was established by Republican President George W. Bush in 2002 to hold foreign terrorism suspects after the 2001 hijacked plane attacks on New York and the Pentagon. About 3,000 people were killed in the 9/11 incident.
The prison is located at the US naval base on the coast of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. This prison is about to be established for twenty one years. According to a New York Times investigative report, 780 prisoners from more than 35 countries were brought here. Over time, many prisoners were transferred to other countries, some were released and some died in prison.
According to a Pentagon press release, there are currently 32 detainees at Guantanamo Bay, 18 of whom are eligible for transfer, with three more eligible for periodic review boards. 9 prisoners are in military commission processes and the remaining two prisoners have been sentenced in military commissions.
Only two Pakistani prisoners, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ammar al-Balushi, are now facing trial for the Nine Eleven attacks. Pre-trial hearings will be held in this regard in May this year. The military court and prison at Guantánamo is run on US taxpayer money. The prison has cost more than $6 billion since 2002.
Note: Credit to Pentagon, Reuters and AFP for news