US considering release of Gitmo’s last Russian inmate


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An American review board is considering a release plea by the last Russian inmate held at the US military’s notorious prison facility on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Ravil Mingazo asked the Periodic Review Board in the Washington area via video link on Tuesday to approve his release after nearly 14 years of custody.

His lawyers are trying to convince the board to let him rejoin his family who live under political asylum in Nottingham, England.

Gary Thompson, a Washington-based attorney who has spent more than 10 years getting to know Mingazo, says the inmate no longer poses a threat.

“”I believe and know Ravil to be a kind and peaceful man who, if released, will do no harm to anyone,” he told the board in a written statement,” he told the board.

The 48-year-old member of the Russian military was detained by American troops over charges of cooperation with Taliban.

Prior to the hearing, the Pentagon released a profile of Mingazo, accusing the former ballet dancer of having ties with al-Qaeda affiliates in Uzbekistan.

He was reportedly captured in Pakistan, at a safe house associated with Abu Zubaydah, a Taliban “facilitator” in the country.

Moscow has questioned Mingazo’s imprisonment, asking for his extradition. However, the Pentagon claims that he is not willing to return to his homeland as he fears facing possible criminal charges there.

Mingazov “maintains a strong disdain for the Russian government and does not want to be repatriated, claiming his treatment in Guantanamo is better than the treatment he received in Russia,” the Pentagon’s profile reads.

The US military has held about 9 Russian citizens at Guantanamo accusing them of being linked to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

At its peak, some 800 detainees were held at the notorious prison at the US naval base in Cuba, which was set up after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Today, there are nearly 80 prisoners left at the facility, 30 of whom have been approved for transfer to foreign countries. The US State Department says the transfer will be done this summer.

A Senate report in December 2014 revealed that the CIA has used sexual abuse and other forms of torture as part of its interrogation methods against Guantanamo prisoners.

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