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Pakistani Prisoner Saifullah Paracha Freed From Guantanamo After 18 Years

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Pakistani Prisoner Saifullah Paracha Freed From Guantanamo After 18 Years

(CTN News) – The Guantanamo Bay detention facility’s oldest prisoner, a 74-year-old Pakistani man Saifullah Paracha, was freed on Saturday and sent back to his country, according to the foreign ministry in Islamabad.

After spending more than 17 years in detention at the American facility in Cuba, Saifullah Paracha was reunited with his family, the ministry claimed.

Paracha was never charged with a crime despite being detained since 2003 on suspicion of having links to al-Qaida.

He learned that his release had been authorized in May of last year. In November 2020, the prisoner review board cleared him and two other offenders.

According to Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, who represented Saifullah Paracha at the time of his hearing, the notice, as is normal, did not offer specific justification for the choice and just said that Paracha was “not a continuing danger” to the United States.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Pakistan said that a protracted inter-agency procedure to permit Saifullah Paracha’s return had been completed.

The ministry said, “We are pleased that a Pakistani national jailed overseas has finally been reunited with his family.

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Saifullah Paracha was a successful businessman in Pakistan who resided in the United States and had property in New York City. Authorities said he was an al-Qaida “facilitator” who used a money transaction to assist two of the plotters on September 11th.

Insisting that he had no idea they were affiliated with al-Qaida, he has denied any role in terrorism.

Saifullah Paracha was taken prisoner by the US in Thailand in 2003 and detained there since September 2004. Washington has claimed for a long time that the international norms of war allow it to keep people without trial for an endless period of time.

Saifullah Paracha made his eighth appearance before the review board in November 2020. President Barack Obama set up the review board to try to stop the release of detainees who officials believed might engage in anti-U.S. hostilities after being released from Guantanamo.

Saifullah Paracha has some health issues, including diabetes and a heart condition.

When President Joe Biden was elected, Saifullah Paracha’s poor health, and developments in a court matter involving his son, Uzair Paracha, his attorney, Sullivan-Bennis, said she was more hopeful about his chances.

The evidence of the same witnesses imprisoned at Guantanamo that the US used to support keeping the father was used partly to convict the son of supporting terrorism in a federal court in New York in 2005.

The younger Paracha was discharged and sent back to Pakistan in March 2020 after a court rejected those witness testimony and the U.S. government opted against requesting a new trial.

Related CTN News:

Pakistani Former PM Imran Khan Starts ‘Long March’ to Force Early Elections

Arsi Mughal is a staff writer at CTN News, delivering insightful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. With a knack for clear and concise writing, he crafts articles that resonate with readers. Arsi's pieces are well-researched, informative, and presented in a straightforward manner, making complex subjects accessible to a broad audience. His writing style strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and casual approachability, ensuring an enjoyable reading experience.

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