US frees Guantanamo inmate after 14 years without trial


The United States says it has transferred a Yemeni inmate from the American military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Italy, after holding the inmate for over 14 years without trial.

The transfer on Sunday of Fayiz Ahmad Yahia Suleiman brings the number of detainees at the US detention camp in Cuba to 78.

The Saudi-born Yemeni inmate’s transfer had been approved six years ago by six US agencies.

“The United States is very grateful to the Government of Italy for its continued assistance in closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay,” said Lee Wolosky, the US special envoy for Guantanamo’s closure.

A spokesman for the US Defense Department declined to comment on whether he would be subject to detention in Italy and referred that question to the Italian government.

Suleiman was arrested by Pakistani authorities and transferred to US custody in 2001, meaning he had been in American detention for 14 and a half years.

Most of the 78 prisoners who remain at Guantanamo have been held without charge or trial for more than a decade, attracting international condemnation.

As many as 775 detainees were brought to the prison, which was set up by former president George W. Bush after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

US president Barack Obama had promised to close the facility in 2009 during his first year in office. But he faces opposition from many Republican lawmakers as well as some fellow Democrats.

The prison has become a symbol of aggressive detention practices that opened the US government to accusations of torture and harsh interrogation techniques.

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