Saudi Detainee Receives Gitmo Review Board Hearing
This morning the Guantanamo Periodic Review Board (PRB) convened to consider the case of Ghassan Abdallah Ghazi al-Sharbi. Al-Sharbi is a 41-year-old Saudi Arabian national who has been imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay since June 2002.
Due to technical difficulties, non-governmental observers were unable to view the unclassified proceedings, but listened to them via speaker phone.
According to the U.S. government, al-Sharbi attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University from 1999-2000 and associated with two of the 9/11 hijackers. After earning his bachelor’s degree in Avionic Electrical Engineering, he received training at the al-Farouq camp in Afghanistan in 2001.
Following the September 11th attacks, the U.S. government believes that al-Sharbi went to Pakistan and was trained on how to produce remote controlled IEDs and attended meetings with leaders of al Qaeda. He was captured on March 28, 2002 alongside Abu Zubaydah.
His detainee profile also asserts that al-Sharbi has been hostile with guards at Guantanamo and “has said that he wants to remain in Guantanamo to continue his jihad against the US military and US Middle East policies.” If released, he said he intends to reengage in terrorist activities against the United States and shows no remorse for the September 11th attacks.
The statement from al-Sharbi’s personal representative was three sentences long, and explained that since al-Sharbi has never attended a scheduled meeting, they are unable to offer any insights into his mindset. Al-Sharbi also boycotted his habeas corpus case and his case before the Guantanamo military commissions, which was withdrawn.
President Obama has said on a number of occasions that he will close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay before his time in office comes to an end. Current legislation pending before both houses of Congress would make that goal extremely difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish. We strongly urge the administration to continue to hold PRBs for eligible detainees, and transfer those who have already been cleared as soon as possible.