Washington – U.S. officials have revealed that Sudanese extremist leader Abu Khaybar, affiliated to al-Qaeda in Yemen, was captured by the Americans last autumn. He was held by another country, mentioned the New York Times.
Arresting Abu Khaybar caused intense debates in the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.
The Trump administration is considering what to do about Abu Khaybar, a decision that presents an early test of Trump’s campaign pledge to send terrorist suspects to the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
U.S. officials said that Abu Khaybar is facing terrorism accusations but given that he is a member of Qaeda then the U.S. administration can transfer him to Guantanamo so that military committees could decide his fate.
This procedure is preferable to Trump who criticized former U.S. President Barack Obama several times for being too soft on terrorists and promised to fill the prison in Cuba with “bad dudes.”
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said several times that these terrorist should not be referred to civil courts, stressing that Guantanamo Bay detention camp should remain open.
The lawyer of suspected 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said that he believes Trump is serious about using Guantanamo Bay to house more terrorist suspects.
“Any chance of closing the notorious site had been lost with the end of Barack Obama’s presidency,” said Defense lawyer David Nevin.
“Our president said he intends to keep Guantanamo open and put more people there, and I took his words seriously,” Nevin said at a Doha human rights conference. He added that he would take the president “at his word” after recent comments from Trump in which he vowed to fill Guantanamo with “bad dudes”.
When Obama first came to power in 2009, he vowed to close Guantanamo. But after eight years in power, he failed to do so in the face of Republican opposition and the reluctance of U.S. allies to take in the detainees. The current population at the prison is 41.