US & Canada

Guantanamo Bay: US frees 'Bin Laden bodyguard'

The US flag flies over Guantanamo Bay Image copyright Reuters
Image caption President Obama wants to have closed the base in Cuba by the end of his presidency

A Saudi man said to have once worked as a bodyguard for Osama Bin Laden has been freed from Guantanamo Bay, the Pentagon said.

Abdul Shalabi, 39, has been transferred back to Saudi Arabia.

Shalabi was captured by Pakistani forces in 2001 and sent to the US base in Cuba, where he went on a long hunger strike against his confinement.

His release means 114 inmates remain at Guantanamo, including 52 who have been approved for transfer.

A review panel determined that it was no longer necessary to detain Shalabi, although said he still was likely to sympathise with extremists.

Shalabi, who has never been charged with any crime, is due to undergo a rehabilitation program for militants in Saudi Arabia.

President Barack Obama is determined to shut down the prison before the end of his term in 2017, but faces opposition in Congress.

A Moroccan detainee, Younis Abdurrahman Chekkouri, was repatriated last week, the Pentagon said.

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