We are glad that a Pakistani citizen detained abroad is finally reunited with his family.Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirming the release of Pakistan citizen, 75-year-old Saifullah Paracha – the “U.S. military’s oldest prisoner of the war on terror.”
Why It Matters: Saifullah Paracha is the believed to be the fourth detainee released from the Guantánamo Bay prison (also called Gitmo) this year. He was arrested in 2003 and was never charged with a crime, but several authorities deemed him too dangerous to release because of believed ties to Al Qaeda. Last year, the review board approved his release. President Biden has made his intentions clear to close Gitmo.
Context: “In his file, U.S. intelligence agencies said he had helped Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, ‘facilitate financial transactions and propaganda’ after the attacks, and said he met with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan before the attacks as part of a delegation of Pakistani dignitaries.”
“For his part, Mr. Paracha claimed in an unsuccessful federal court petition for his release that he did not know Mr. Mohammed’s true identity or his role in the Sept. 11 plot. He said he held some money for him and allowed Mr. Mohammed’s nephew to use an editing studio in Karachi out of a sense of Muslim kinship, not ideology, and he denounced violence and denied affiliation with Al Qaeda” (The New York Times).
U.S. Releases Guantánamo’s Oldest Prisoner (The New York Times)
by Jenna Lee,