He was captured in 2002 during a joint US-Pakistani intelligence raid in Karachi, Pakistan, and held for about four months by the Central Intelligence Agency in early 2004, before his transfer to Guantánamo Bay.
As early as 2002, while in the custody of a foreign government, Mr. al-Hajj spoke to interrogators about a Qaeda messenger known as Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti, an obscure figure that states United stalked in 2011 to find and kill Osama. Bin Laden, according to a large Senate study of the CIA interrogation program.
Mr. al-Hela, who has also never been charged, was considered a prominent member of a Yemeni national security force suspected of having links to “extremist groups”. U.S. military intelligence reports described him as being aware of Yemen’s attacks on Western targets before being captured in Cairo in 2002 and turned over to CIA custody.
His case is one of the best known of the current detainees because a federal appeals court ruled in September that as a detainee at Guantanamo, he was not entitled to due process protection in a challenge to the legality of his detention. The decision is under appeal, and his lawyer, Beth D. Jacob, said her team will continue to fight the decision because a court release order carries more weight than a recommendation from a review board for organize a transfer.
In recommending transfers, the Periodic Review Committee said that every man “presents a certain level of threat in light of his past activities”.
He said Mr. al-Hajj’s release could be organized safely with “surveillance and travel restrictions.” For Mr. al-Hela, the council recommended that he be resettled in a third country that “would implement appropriate security measures” and allow him to be reunited with his family.
Yemenis have been among the most difficult detainees to transfer from Guantanamo for years, as the United States considers this nation, which has a powerful Qaeda franchise, to be too unstable to help relocate and track detainees. Ms Jacob said the two should be sent to a country that “will respect their human rights, give them the opportunity to recover from what the United States has done to them over the past two decades and to build themselves up. a life “.