Thursday, September 28, 2023
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Saudi Demands Exit From Guantanamo

WASHINGTON (CN) - A well-educated Saudi who trained with several of the 9/11 hijackers at a U.S. flight school had no representation Thursday at his hearing to seek release from Guantanamo Bay.

Though the Pentagon usually broadcasts the unclassified portion of the proceedings in Cuba via closed circuit, the video feed did not work today because of technical difficulties.

Al-Sharbi was apparently present at the hearing but could not be heard on the audio.

The 41-year-old has not met with his personal military representative and does not have an attorney.

"Mr. Sharbi has not attended any scheduled meeting and therefore, I am unable to describe my first-hand knowledge of him," his anonymous, male military representative told the Periodic Review board.

Al-Sharbi's history of noncooperation is well documented in his unclassified profile.

In the 14 years since he arrived at Guantanamo, al-Sharbi has refused to meet with interrogators, lawyers and foreign delegations, the profile says.

Al-Sharbi asked U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to dismiss his habeas petition in 2009, but he refused legal representation in any U.S. court.

Describing the detainee by his internment serial number in the unclassified profile, the United States says al-Sharbi is "mostly noncompliant and hostile."

An anonymous female voice read the unclassified profile verbatim Thursday.

"SA-682 espouses a strong dislike for the U.S. and has said that he wants to remain in Guantanamo to continue his jihad against the U.S. military and U.S. Middle East policies," she said.

"SA-682 has told interrogators that he will reengage in terrorist activity against the U.S. to defend Islam from the presence of U.S. military forces in Saudi Arabia,"

Another striking allegation in the profile quotes al-Sharbi as saying "the U.S. got what it deserved from the terrorist attacks on 9/11."

U.S. authorities belief al-Sharbi has an extensive background working with explosives, but is well educated. He attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz., from 1999 to 2000 with several of the 9/11 hijackers, and earned a bachelor's degree in avionic electrical engineering.

Al-Sharbi also earned degrees in electrical engineering and petroleum and minerals from King Fahd University in Saudi Arabia.

The detainee's profile says al-Sharbi spent time in Afghanistan in mid-2000, then traveled to Pakistan at the behest of an unnamed senior al-Qaida military commander.

There he learned to make radio remote-controlled improvised explosive devices, with the intent to train other would-be extremists in bomb making, his profile says. The U.S. claims al-Sharbi might have been involved in discussions about attacks on the U.S., including the foiled plot by Jose Padilla to explode a dirty bomb.

Padilla was convicted on terrorism charges in 2007 and is serving a 21-year prison sentence.

Because al-Sharbi has refused to meet with interrogators, the U.S. says it lacks the ability to assess his intentions and motivations, but believes his expertise and background in bomb-making would place him in high demand among extremist groups.

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