DOD Report: One in Seven Released Gitmo Detainees Returns to Terrorism

By Fred Lucas | June 4, 2009 | 7:25 PM EDT

In this photo, reviewed by the U.S. military, Pentagon Spokesman Cmdr. J.D. Gordon introduces a prosecution team at the start of a news conference following a U.S. Commissions hearing for Canadian defendant Omar Khadr, at Camp Justice, the site of the U.S. war crimes tribunal compound, at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba, Monday, June 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, Pool)

( - Shortly after his release from Guantanamo Bay prison in 2004, Mohammed Ismail was quoted as saying, “They gave me a good time in Cuba. They were very nice to me, giving me English lessons.”

Ismail was repatriated to Afghanistan but recaptured in May 2004 for participating in an attack against U.S forces in Kandahar. He was carrying a letter confirming his membership with the Taliban.

Said Mohammed Alim Shah (also known as Abdullah Mahsud), after his release from Guantanamo in March 2004, kidnapped two Chinese engineers that October and directed a suicide attack in April 2007 that killed 31 people, according to the Pakistan government. He blew himself up after this attack to avoid capture by Pakistani officials.

Those are just two former Gitmo detainees who were released and confirmed to have returned to terrorism.

Among the more than 530 Guantanamo detainees transferred from the Department of Defense facility, 27 were confirmed as having re-engaged in terrorist activity and 47 were suspected of doing so. That’s about one in seven, or 14 percent.

Those numbers come from a Pentagon report made available to through a Freedom of Information Act request. The letter acknowledging the final response to the request, dated May 29, was received on June 4.

The report, widely requested, was made available in late May in the form of a fact sheet that did not include information on all of the confirmed or suspected cases of detainees returning to terrorism. Much of the information is still classified.

While in Cairo, Egypt, on Thursday, President Barack Obama reiterated his commitment to close Gitmo.

“We are taking concrete actions to change course,” Obama told the Muslim world. “I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year.”

However, last month, the Senate rejected funding for the closing of Gitmo until the White House had an alternative plan in place.

Other detainees released whom the Pentagon confirmed as having returned to terrorism include:

Abdullah Saleh Ali al-Ajmi was released from Gitmo and returned to Kuwait in 2005. In April 2008, he conducted a suicide bombing in Mosul in northern Iraq, killing numerous Iraqi citizens.

Ibrahim Bin Shakaran and Mohammed Bin Ahmad Mizouz were sent back to Morocco in July 2004. In September 2007, they were convicted for their recruiting terrorists.

Ibrahim Shair Sen was returned to Turkey after his release from Gitmo in November 2003. In January 2008, Sen was arrested in Van, Turkey and indicted in June 2008 as the leader of al Qaeda cells.

Ravil Shafeyavich Gumarov and Timur Ravilich Ishmurat were sent back to Russia after their release from Gitmo. They were convicted in Russian court in May 2006 for their involvement in a gas line bombing and sentenced to 13 years and 11 years respectively.

Yousef Muhammed Yaaqoub, also known as Mullah Shazada, was released and repatriated to Afghanistan in May 2003. He rejoined the Taliban and organized and executed a jailbreak in Kandahar. He was killed on May 7, 2004 fighting U.S. forces. His memorial in Quetta, Pakistan drew many Taliban leaders who were wanted by U.S. forces, according to the Defense Department report.

Mazin Salih Musaid al-Alawi al-Awfi was repatriated to Saudi Arabia in July 2007. Abu Sufyan al-Azdi al-Shihri was repatriated to Saudi Arabia in November 2007. The two former Gitmo detainees appeared in a 19-minute video on Jan. 24 this year to announce their leadership within the newly established al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula organization.

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