The Department of Defense announced today the transfer of Muhammed Murdi Issa Al-Zahrani from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
On Oct. 3, a Periodic Review Board consisting of representatives from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and State; the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence determined continued law of war detention of Al-Zahrani does not remain necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States. As a result of that review, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, Al-Zahrani was recommended for transfer by consensus of the six departments and agencies comprising the Periodic Review Board.
"In the past three weeks, the Department of Defense has transferred seven detainees. These transfers include both the first Yemenis since 2010 and two transfers involving detainees made eligible by the Periodic Review Board process. A total of 13 detainees have been transferred this year. This strikes a responsible balance and reflects the careful deliberation the Secretary of Defense brings to the transfer process, and follows a rigorous process in the interagency to review several items including security review prior to any transfer," said Mr. Paul Lewis, Special Envoy for Guantanamo Detention Closure
In accordance with statutory requirements, the secretary of defense informed Congress of the United States' intent to transfer this individual and of his determination that this transfer meets the statutory standard.
The Periodic Review Board process was established by the president's March 7, 2011 Executive Order (EO) 13567.
The United States is grateful to the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The United States coordinated with the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to ensure this transfer took place consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures.
Today, 142 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay.