Muslim Man Held at Gitmo for 13 Years over Mistaken Identity
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – US officials have admitted that they had imprisoned a Yemeni prisoner in the notorious Guantanamo Bay military prison for 13 years simply for a mistaken identity, a report said.
US officials have determined that Mustafa al-Aziz al-Shamiri was mistaken for an al-Qaeda courier and trainer, The Telegraph reported on Wednesday.
Al-Shamiri appeared Tuesday before a panel assessing whether he can be released. A report put out by the Pentagon says he fought in Afghanistan and associated with members of al-Qaeda. But in the report officials concede they wrongly thought he had a more significant role because he was confused with someone else with a similar name.
“Mustafa Abd-al-Qawi Abd-al-Aziz al-Shamiri (YM-434) fought in several jihadist theaters and associated with al-Qaeda members in Afghanistan,” the unclassified Department of Defense's detainee profile said.
“It was previously assessed that YM-434 also was an al-Qaeda facilitator or courier, as well as a trainer, but we now judge that these activities were carried out by other known extremists with names or aliases similar to YM-434’s.”
A statement from al-Shamiri’s personal representative described him as very cooperative, enthusiastic and supportive in the preparation for the board hearing.
Washington currently holds 107 prisoners at Guantanamo and 48 of them have been cleared for release. The prison was set up after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
President Barack Obama has previously promised to close the Gitmo, but his administration has so far failed to do so. They have even rejected as too expensive a new proposal by the Pentagon to close the detention facility.