Kuwaiti Guantanamo detainee sent home: US official

One of two remaining Kuwaitis held in the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay was sent home Wednesday after nearly 13 years in detention, a Pentagon spokesman told AFP.

AFP| Updated: Nov 05, 2014, 19:37 PM IST

Guantanamo Bay Naval Base: One of two remaining Kuwaitis held in the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay was sent home Wednesday after nearly 13 years in detention, a Pentagon spokesman told AFP.

Fawzi al-Odah, 37, boarded a Kuwaiti government plane at 5:30 am (1030 GMT), said Lieutenant Colonel Myles Caggins. He is the first inmate freed since late May, bringing the total number of detainees at the prison on a US naval base in Cuba to 148.

His release comes a day after a major election defeat for US President Barack Obama, a Democrat, who blames Congress for blocking his attempts to close the controversial jail. Republicans will now control both congressional chambers, for the first time since 2006.

Al-Odah and fellow Guantanamo detainee Fayez Al Kandari were arrested in northern Pakistan in late 2001 by tribesmen who sold them to the Pakistani army who in turn handed them over to the United States.

At a hearing in July, Guantanamo`s Periodic Review Board "determined that continued law of war detention of the detainee does not remain necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States."

However, the board ruled that Al Kandari "almost certainly retains an extremist mindset and had close ties with high-level Al-Qaeda leaders in the past," and recommended against his release.