The United States announced this Thursday that it has released and repatriated to its country two Pakistanis whom it had imprisoned in Guantanamo for 20 years without being formally charged with any crime, local press reported.
It’s about the brothers Abdul Rahim and Mohammed Ahmed Ghulam Rabbani, 55 and 53 years old, respectively, who were transferred by plane to Pakistan after an agreement with the authorities of that countryreported the Department of Defense.
The brothers were captured in September 2002 in Karachi by Pakistani security services on suspicion that they helped operate safe houses where suspected al Qaeda members hid after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
They arrived at the US prison in Cuba’s Guantánamo Bay in 2004, after spending some 550 days in a detention site run by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). American in Afghanistan.
Despite the fact that the transfer of both had been agreed in 2021, they remained in prison until now without the reasons being disclosed, according to The New York Times.
In the meantime, Washington removed two other Pakistanis from Guantánamo: Saifullah Paracha, 75, was repatriated last October and Majid Khan, 42, was released in Belize this month.
US intelligence documents describe the Ghulam Rabbani as Pakistani by nationality, although they were born and raised in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and are ethnically Rohingya, according to the newspaper.
Both had family in Karachi, where they worked as taxi drivers before they were caught.
According to those sources, as they were fluent in Arabic, they also did work for former al Qaeda operations chief Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, accused of masterminding the 2001 attacks.
The departure of the Ghulam Rabbani reduced the inmate population at Guantánamo to 32 men, all of them sent there during the government of George W. Bush (2001-09), after having come to have 680 prisoners at the same time in 2003.
In the communiqué with which he announced the release of the brothers, The Pentagon thanked “the Government of Pakistan and other partners for supporting continued United States efforts focused on responsibly reducing the detainee population. and, ultimately, close the Guantánamo Bay facility.”
Of the 32 remaining prisoners, 18 qualified for release or transfer as long as Washington reaches an agreement with a country willing to host them.