An Algerian man arrested in Pakistan and accused of helping America’s enemies make bombs is back in Algeria after the Biden administration sprung him from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.
Sufiyan Barhoumi was flown to Algeria, according to an announcement by the Department of Defense.
“The United States appreciates the willingness of Algeria, and other partners to support ongoing U.S. efforts toward a deliberate and thorough process focused on responsibly reducing the detainee population and ultimately closing of the Guantanamo Bay facility,” the statement said.
In 2016, Barhoumi had been a candidate for release, but during the Trump administration, Obama-era plans to release detainees were put on hold.
A 2004 document classifying Barhoumi as an enemy combatant said that he trained with Al-Qaida prior to his 2002 arrest.
He “participated in a plan to bomb the United States using bombs remotely active by cellular phone or pager,” the document said.
The document also noted that while learning how to defuse a land mine he lost four fingers.
In the 2009-2010 time frame, the Guantánamo Review Task Force called for Barhoumi to be prosecuted, but nothing happened.
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A 2013 report in the Wall Street Journal indicated that at that time, Barhoumi was willing to plead guilty to war crimes.
A report by HumanRightsFirst indicated that the plea was a strategy to “plead guilty and receive a release date.”
Sufyian Barhoumi, 48, was captured in Pakistan in March 2002 and soon taken to Guantánamo Bay, where he never faced trial. He was notified in August 2016 that he was eligible for release, but his case was sidelined by a Trump administration policy. https://t.co/GpeAgCISBn
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 2, 2022
Barhoumi was accused of being a bomb-making instructor in Pakistan, but a court ruling ended efforts by the Pentagon to efforts to charge him with a war crime, according to The New York Times.
The Defense Department release noted that on August 9, 2016, the Periodic Review Board ruled that Barhoumi should be released.
The full statement of the board, however, noted that “The Board recognizes that the detainee presents some level of threat in light of his past activities, skills and associations; however, the Board found that in light of the factors and the conditions identified below, the risk the detainee presents can be adequately mitigated.”
When you think it cannot get worse 👇
Pentagon transfers Guantanamo Bay prisoner Sufiyan Barhoumi to Algeriahttps://t.co/K2pRT2wkr4
— Mike (@mikelvilletx) April 2, 2022
The board said Barhoumi’s family connections and behavior at Gitmo were factors in its decision to approve his release.
The transfer was the second of this year and the third by the Biden administration.
There are currently 37 detainees at Gitmo. The Defense Department said 18 can be released if another country will take them.