Guantanamo Bay prisoner may be victim of mistaken identity

A Yemeni prisoner at the US base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba appears to have been the victim of mistaken identity, suspected of being a significant member of al Qaeda and not just a low-level Islamic fighter, officials said in documents.

Guantanamo Bay prisoner may be victim of mistaken identity

The documents were part of a packet of materials produced for the Periodic Review Board, a panel of government officials deciding whether prisoner Mustafa al-Aziz al-Shamiri can be released as part of larger effort to reduce the number of men held and eventually close the prison

A “detainee profile” of the 37-year-old prisoner concludes he was an Islamic fighter who fought in several jihadist theatres, including Afghanistan, and associated with members of al Qaeda.

However, it says officials were wrong when they said he was a courier or trainer for the group and they had confused him with other extremists with a similar name.

Al-Shamiri has been held without charge at Guantanamo for more than 13 years, following his capture in Afghanistan.

If the board approves his release, he would likely have to be resettled in a country other than Yemen, because the US believes that country is too unstable.

Representatives appointed by the government to represent him said he is willing to go to any country that will accept him.

“He has vocalised to us that while he cannot change the past, he would definitely have chosen a different path,” the representatives said in a written statement to the board. “He wants to make a life for himself.”

Al-Shamiri is one of 107 prisoners at the base, including nearly 50 approved for release and awaiting transfer.

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