He was the oldest prisoner at the U.S.-run Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba.
Paracha was freed and returned to his native Pakistan.
He was charged with supporting the armed group,
After over 20 years of captivity without charge or trial, Saifullah Paracha, the oldest prisoner at the American-run Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, has been freed and returned to his native Pakistan, according to the foreign ministry of the South Asian nation.
According to a statement released by the foreign ministry on Saturday, “the Foreign Ministry concluded an elaborate inter-agency process to facilitate the repatriation of Mr. Paracha.”
“We are pleased to announce the successful reunion of a Pakistani national incarcerated abroad with his family.”
Businessman Paracha was detained in Thailand in 2003 and charged with supporting the armed group, although he has continued to claim his innocence. The US only determined that Paracha was “not a continuing threat” to the US when they ordered his parole in May.
Paracha, who is 74 or 75 years old and was held at Guantanamo, had no legal recourse and, like the majority of the detainees there, had never been officially charged.
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, a covert US military prison was built to house alleged al-Qaeda militants apprehended during the invasion of Afghanistan.
However, 732 of the 780 prisoners detained during the US’s alleged “war on terror” were let go without being charged. Many of them spent more than ten years in prison without having a way to legally contest their detention.
The most notorious prison in the world, which has come to represent violations of human rights, still houses close to 40 inmates.
After US President Joe Biden approved the release of Paracha, another Pakistani national named Abdul Rabbani, 55, and Yemeni-born Uthman Abdul al-Rahim Uthman, 41, last year, Paracha returned home on Saturday.
There is pressure on Biden to release Guantanamo’s uncharged detainees and continue the legal proceedings against those who are alleged to have close ties to al-Qaeda.
Several men who reportedly had direct roles in 9/11 and other al-Qaeda assaults are among the approximately 40 prisoners still in prison.
The American student Paracha ran an import-export company that supplied significant US shops.
He was charged by US officials with communicating with leaders of al-Qaeda like Osama bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
In 2008, Paracha’s attorney claimed that the businessman had met bin Laden twice, first in 1999 and once in 2000 while working on a television show.
A UK-based human rights organization called Reprieve referred to Paracha as a “forever prisoner.”
Since it originally opened, Guantanamo has gained a bad reputation for violating human rights and for the US government’s belief that its detainees were not entitled to any protection under international law.
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