(Dmytro “Henry” Aleksandrov, Headline USA) The Biden administration decided to release and return Said bin Brahim bin Umran Bakush, a suspected Al Qaeda instructor, to Algeria on Thursday after holding him at Guantánamo Bay detention facility for two decades.
According to the Daily Caller, Bakush is one of the last 20 suspected low-level Islamist fighters to be released among a group that was captured in a 2002 raid on facilities U.S. and Pakistani authorities believed Al Qaeda was using as safe houses.
The statement said that the Department of Defense agreed with Algeria to transfer Bakush, originally thought to hail from Libya, subject to continued monitoring, travel restrictions and security conditions.
“The United States appreciates the willingness of the Government 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 the Guantanamo Bay facility,” the Pentagon stated.
The news source reported that Bakush is the sixth Guantanamo prisoner released in the past six months. The reason why that happens is that the Biden administration seeks to reduce the population and eventually shut down the facility.
After Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin notified Congress of his intent to repatriate the detainee in February, a DOD review board determined Bakush was eligible for transfer on Apr. 13.
The Daily Caller added that all 20 operatives who swept up the raid on Faisalabad dwellings were detained in Guantanamo, but only one remains as of Bakush’s transfer.
While at Guantanamo Bay, Bakush was very reclusive as a prisoner. He was boycotting hearings to determine his suitability for release and, in 2017 or 2018, he refused to speak with his lawyer, H. Candace Gorman. He was spending most of his time in his cell at Camp 6, a building where more pliant detainees are permitted to eat, pray and watch TV together.
At his 2021 court appearance, U.S. intelligence agencies determined that he “probably attended basic and advanced training in Afghanistan and later served as an instructor at an extremist camp prior to his capture.”