The Biden administration is planning on releasing a detained terrorist the U.S. government suspected was involved with the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Mohammed al-Qahtani has been detained at Guantánamo Bay’s military detention facility since 2002 after the Saudi Arabian citizen was arrested by U.S. troops.
Unclassified Pentagon documents reveal that U.S. authorities intend to transfer al-Qahtani to Saudi Arabia, where he’s expected to undergo a mental health treatment program.
The Biden administration intends to free al-Qahtani from custody as early as March, The New York Times reported.
Al-Qahtani attempted to enter the United States in August 2001, only to be deported from the Orlando airport. Authorities believe that al-Qahtani planned to meet Mohamed Atta, who masterminded the 9/11 attacks.
Authorities believe that al-Qahtani was going to join the team that hijacked United Airlines Flight 93, the aircraft headed for the U.S. Capitol, the Times reported.
Flight 93 was ultimately crashed in rural Pennsylvania after passengers overcame the hijackers in the cockpit.
Al-Qahtani was captured in the Battle of Tora Bora, a clash between American troops and Taliban militants during the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The U.S. military was aiming to capture Osama Bin Laden in that battle.
The Saudi national was never placed on trial, despite briefly facing charges of murder and war crimes, according to the BBC.
Military justice officials ultimately deemed that al-Qahtani had been tortured by interrogators, which compromised the evidence they planned to use in his trial, according to the Washington Post.
However, the Islamic militant was detained as a dangerous foreign combatant, held in Guantánamo long after many other al-Qaida fighters were released from custody.
The Navy doctors who evaluated al-Qahtani diagnosed him with schizophrenia and a childhood brain injury, as outlined in a report.
The Pentagon’s Periodic Review Board admitted “that the detainee presents some level of threat in light of his past activities and associations” in the document announcing his release.
However, the board ultimately determined that his continuing detention wasn’t justified.
Only 39 suspected terrorists remain at Guantánamo, according to the Times.
More than 700 prisoners have been moved from the prison since its inception in 2002. Most were released from the facility during the Obama administration.
Biden has pledged to eventually close the facility, a promise Democrats have been making since former President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign.
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