Ghassan Al Sharbi, a Saudi Arabian engineer imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay military prison for more than 20 years without being charged with any crime, has been released by the United States.
The Department of Defense announced that Al Sharbi was returned to Saudi Arabia after a review determined that his imprisonment was “no longer necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the national security of the United States.” Al Sharbi has been transferred to Saudi Arabia with the condition that he would be subject to a list of security measures, which include travel restrictions, location monitoring, and information sharing.
Al Sharbi was initially sent to Guantanamo bay after it was discovered he attended an aeronautical university in Arizona and subsequently attended a flight school where two of the hijackers from September 11, 2001, visited. Initially, the United States brought forward charges against him but ultimately dropped them in 2008. Al Sharbi was never charged with a crime but was still held in custody as he was deemed an “enemy fighter.” Eventually, the Pentagon’s review board determined that Al Sharbi had no leadership positions within al-Qaeda (the group he was suspected of being a part of).