The Pentagon recently announced plans to transfer the first detainee from Guantanamo Bay, the American detention center in Cuba, since Donald Trump assumed the presidency.

Ahmed al-Darbi, a Saudi national, is that detainee. In 2014, al-Darbi, pleaded guilty to charges connected with facilitating a 2002 Al-Qaeda attack on a French oil tanker. He was required to testify against two other Gitmo detainees in exchange for the opportunity to finish his 13-year sentence through a rehabilitation program in Saudi Arabia.

As the Hill reported, al-Darbi’s guilty plea agreement stated he would be transferred four years after he admitted liability, a deadline that occurred on Tuesday of this week. Pentagon spokesperson Cmdr. Sarah Higgins said the American government prioritizes the transfer, but needs clarity from Saudi Arabia before proceeding. 

“We await assurances from the Saudi Arabian government to move forward on his departure,” Higgins said. “Al-Darbi will remain at Guantánamo until all transfer details are concluded. Thus far, al-Darbi has complied with all terms of his plea agreement.” Further, the Pentagon “hopes the transfer will take place soon,” according to Higgins.

Gitmo remains a controversial facility that complexly raises issues including national security, national alliances, rules of capture, torture and due process. Supporters of the facility often argue that the military prison properly houses and punishes global terrorists, which in turn protects the collective from their crimes. Gitmo critics often argue that the facility is a lawless American space on Caribbean land where officials torture detainees into providing confessions and intelligence that is of questionable validity. 

While former President Barack Obama said he would shutter the facility, the Trump administration confirmed a desire to keep the center open as usual. 


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