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Mentally ill Guantanamo inmate ‘eligible to move’ Saudi Arabia

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WASHINGTON: American authorities have recommended releasing a mentally ill inmate from Guantanamo Bay and repatriating him to Saudi Arabia.

The detention of Mohammed Al Qahtani is “no longer necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States”, according to a US government document published on Friday.

Al Qahtani was tortured by interrogators at the US military base in Cuba where he has been detained for nearly two decades.

He was suspected of being Al Qaeda’s intended 20th hijacker for the September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States.

The government dropped its case against him in 2008 due to the abuse he experienced at the prison.

In its final determination dated February 4, the Periodic Review Board, a panel composed of several US national security agencies, said Al Qahtani was “eligible for transfer”.

It recommended that he be repatriated to Saudi Arabia where he could receive comprehensive mental health care and be enrolled in a rehabilitation centre for extremists.

The body noted his “significantly compromised mental health condition and available family support”. 

Security measures, including surveillance and travel restrictions, were also recommended.

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