The Pentagon says that Pakistan’s Rabbani brothers are being released after 20 years in prison at Guantanamo Bay. He was arrested on charges of facilitating key al-Qaeda leaders.
The two brothers, Abdul Rahim Ghulam Rabbani, 55, and Muhammad Ahmad Ghulam Rabbani, 53, were arrested by Pakistani authorities in their hometown of Karachi in 2002 and extradited to the United States. US officials said that the two had provided financial and travel facilities to key al-Qaeda leaders.
US authorities also accused the Rabbani brothers of working for 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and providing a safe haven for al-Qaeda to carry out its activities in Karachi. But it could not be proved that these two brothers had access to Al-Qaeda plans of operations.
The two brothers alleged that they had been severely tortured in CIA custody before being transferred to Guantanamo Bay. According to the American military records, despite the interrogation, no more important information could be obtained from them.
The terms of the transfer to Pakistan are currently unknown
The US military announced the transfer of the two in a statement, but did not say on what terms Pakistan had accepted their return. Abdul Rahim Ghulam Rabbani is believed to be one of the oldest prisoners to be released from Guantanamo Bay prison.
“The United States appreciates the support of the Government of Pakistan and other partners for US efforts focused on responsibly reducing the prison population and ultimately closing the Guantanamo Bay facility,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
’20 years in prison without a crime’
According to Pakistani media reports, on January 27 this year, in the meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights in Islamabad, the case of Pakistanis imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay prison was discussed. And the participants were told that two Pakistani brothers would be released from this prison in March.
Senator Mushtaq Ahmed had told the Standing Committee that there was no case against the Rabbani brothers, nor any conviction against them. Officials of the Ministry of External Affairs informed the Standing Committee that the process of repatriation of the Rabbani brothers is likely to be completed by the end of February and they will reach Pakistan a week after that.
Guantanamo Bay Prison ‘Symbol of US Abuses’
Abdul Rahim Ghulam Rabbani and Mohammad Ahmad Ghulam Rabbani are the latest prisoners to be released from Guantanamo prison. Located on a US Navy base in Cuba, the infamous prison was established by the George W. Bush administration to hold suspected terrorists after the September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda attacks on the United States.
The Pentagon said that after the release of these two Pakistani brothers, the total number of people held at Guantanamo Bay has been reduced to 32. Out of which 18 are eligible for repatriation. Nine prisoners are on trial in US military commissions and two have been sentenced.
The Guantanamo Bay prison is seen as a symbol of abuses committed during the US’s ‘war on terror’ because of the harsh interrogation methods critics call torture. Joe Biden announced the closure of this prison after taking office in 2021, but the US federal government cannot legally transfer the prisoners of this detention center to US prisons.
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