After keeping Abdul Rabbani, 55, and Mohammed Rabbani, 53, at the contentious U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for almost two decades without charges, the United States has returned them to their native Pakistan.
The Rabbani brothers were detained by domestic officials in 2002 on suspicion of running al-Qaida safe houses before being immediately turned over to American authorities.
The two brothers were returned to Pakistan on Thursday, the US Defense Department announcing that they had spent nearly 20 years in Guantanamo Bay, the military detention facility built in Cuba in 2002 as part of the US war on terror, without being officially charged.
The jail is notorious for its harshness; American officials are accused of torturing inmates, abusing their physical and mental health, and committing other human rights violations. As a result, the prison has come under fire from various segments of the public.
The two brothers are “no longer essential to defend against a continuing serious threat to the security of the United States,” according to the statement.
Just one month had passed before the Rabbani brothers were to be sent back to Pakistan; at that time, Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin had informed Congress that the decision had been made and that it had received approval from the Pakistani consulate.
According to a statement released by the Pentagon on Thursday, “the United States appreciates the Government of Pakistan and other allies’ willingness to assist ongoing U.S. efforts focused on responsibly lowering the detainee population and ultimately closing the Guantanamo Bay facility.”
The Rabbani brothers are the most recent captives to be freed from Guantanamo Bay as US President Joseph Biden steps up his campaign to close the contentious detention facility.