First ‘high-value detainee’ released from Guantanamo Bay detention
A former al-Qaeda member has been released from Guantánamo Bay detention center after serving a 10-year sentence and cooperating with US authorities.
Majid Khan, 42, was transferred to the Central American country of Belize after serving his sentence a year ago, the Defense Ministry said.
Mr. Khan is the first so-called “high quality” detainee to be released from the notorious US penitentiary in Cuba, a description given to prisoners believed to be of the highest intelligence value who were tortured during the administration of George W. Bush.
The Defense Ministry said Mr Khan’s transfer was “in consultation with Belizean partners” after he served his sentence.
“The United States appreciates the willingness of the Belize government and other partners to support ongoing U.S. efforts focused on a responsible reduction in the detainee population and the eventual closure of the Guantanamo Bay facility,” the Department of Defense said said in a statement.
In a statement, Mr Khan asked for “forgiveness from God and from those I have hurt”.
“I’ve been given a second chance at life, and I intend to make the best of it,” he said loudly The New York Times.
Mr. Khan was born in Saudi Arabia, grew up in Pakistan and moved to Maryland with his family at the age of 16. He confessed to joining al-Qaeda after a family trip to Pakistan in 2002.
“I went to al Qaeda voluntarily,” he said of his condemnationaccording to New York Times. “I was stupid, so incredibly stupid. But they promised to ease my pain and cleanse my sins. They promised to redeem me and I believed them.”
Mr Khan was arrested on March 5, 2003 in Karachi, Pakistan and held in foreign government custody before being transferred to the custody of the Central Intelligence Agency. He would remain in CIA custody for three years, until 2006.
During his time in CIA custody, Mr. Khan “was subjected to sleep deprivation, nudity, and dietary manipulation, and may have been subjected to an ice water bath,” the agency said playback project.
He pleaded guilty before a military commission in 2012 to wire money to al Qaeda and to plotting bombings with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. One such plan was a suicide attack on the then President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, which was never carried out.
At his sentencing in 2021, Mr Khan detailed the torture he had endured and claimed he had raped him force-feeding through his rectum.
Mr. Khan is the first resettlement of a Guantanamo detainee since the Obama administration.
The Department of Defense said Thursday that 34 detainees are still being held at Guantánamo Bay: “20 are eligible for transfer; 3 entitled to a regular review commission; 9 are involved in the process of military commissions; and 2 remaining detainees were sentenced in military commissions.”