12 Years Later: Two Gitmo Saudis Sent Home, Uncharged

Both Had Been Cleared for Release Years Ago

12 years of harsh detention at Guantanamo Bay came to an end for a pair of Saudi citizens today, with the announcement that they are being transferred back to Saudi Arabia. Neither was ever charged with a crime.

35-year-old Muhammad Qahtani was a student who went to Afghanistan in 2001 to fight alongside the Taliban. After spending a third of his life in US custody, uncharged, he is hoping to reunite with his family and complete his education.

The other detainee, 48-year-old Hamoud Abdullah Hamoud, was actually incorrectly listed as a Yemeni for years, and both he and Qahtani were cleared for release in January 2009.

Qahtani fought briefly alongside the Taliban before fleeing to Pakistan and getting captured. Hamoud was accused of being a “money courier” for the Taliban and likewise was captured in Pakistan. It is unclear what will happen to them upon return to Saudi Arabia, but in the past the Saudis have forced released detainees to enter a “reeducation” program, whether they were accused of crimes or not.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. 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.