US to Release Gitmo-Held Aid Worker

Yemeni Surgeon Will Be Release in a Manner Consistent with US "Foreign Policy Interests"

Following a review, the United States government has agreed to release Dr. Ayman Batarfi, the 38-year old Yemeni humanitarian worker who has been held as a detainee at Guantanamo Bay since his captured shortly after the 2001 American invasion of Afghanistan.

Batarfi was reportedly volunteering at a Jalalabad hospital at the time of the invasion, and was captured at Tora Bora, where he was treating wounded fighters. Though he has been held for nearly a decade, he has never been charged with any crime or received any sort of trial.

The Justice Department says his release will be done “in a manner that is consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States,” though at the moment it is unclear where they intend to send him. Yemeni media outlets have cited human rights groups as saying Batarfi suffers from serious mental illness related to his long detention and harsh treatment.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.