He was arrested in a joint raid by US-Pakistani intelligence services in Karachi, Pakistan, in 2002 and detained by the Central Intelligence Agency for about four months in early 2004 before he was transferred to Guantánamo Bay.
As early as 2002, while in the custody of a foreign government, Mr. al-Hajj told interrogators about an al-Qaeda courier named Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti, a shady figure who persecuted the United States in 2011 about Osama. to find and kill bin Laden, according to a comprehensive Senate study by the CIA interrogation program.
Mr. al-Hela, who was also never charged, was believed to be a prominent member of a Yemeni national security force suspected of having links to “extremist groups”. US Military Intelligence reports described him as being aware of attacks from Yemen on Western targets before he was captured in Cairo in 2002 and turned over to the CIA.
His case is among the better known detainees currently in detention, as a federal appeals court ruled in September that as a detainee in Guantánamo he was not entitled to due process protection to challenge the legality of his detention. That ruling is under appeal, and his attorney Beth D. Jacob said his team will continue to fight the ruling because a judicial release order weighs more heavily than an examination board recommendation to initiate a rendition.
In recommending the transfers, the Periodic Review Board said that every man “presents some degree of threat in light of his previous activities.”
It was said that the release of Mr. al-Hajj could certainly be done with “Monitoring and travel restrictions. “For Mr. al-Hela, the board recommended he is being relocated to a third country that would “put in place adequate security measures” and allow him to reunite with his family.
Yemenis have been among the most difficult prisoners to transfer from Guantánamo for years, as the US considers this nation, which has a strong al-Qaida franchise, to be too unstable to aid in the relocation and persecution of the prisoners. Ms. Jacob said both men should be sent to a country that “respects their human rights, gives them the opportunity to recover from what the United States has done to them over the past two decades and build a life.”