Saifullah Paracha, last Pakistani prisoner at Gitmo, to be released soon: foreign ministry

Ministry of the Interior officials told the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights that Saifullah Paracha, the last Pakistani imprisoned at the infamous Guantanamo Bay, will soon be released as the ministry has confirmed his identity and passed it on to American authorities.

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Saifullah, a 74-year-old businessman by profession, has been at the Guantanamo Bay detention center since his arrest in Bangkok in 2003. He was accused of having connections to the leadership of al-Qaeda.

On Monday, Saifullah’s son, Mustafa, appeared before the standing committee headed by Senator Walid Iqbal to discuss the issue of Pakistani citizens who are being held at the Guantánamo Bay Prison.

Mustafa told the committee he was born in Pakistan. He reported that his father and brother were arrested in 2003 in Thailand and New York, respectively. They were sentenced to thirty years in jail.

In 2018, the same judge who had convicted them overturned his own decision. The court granted their release and his brother was released.

Mustafa said that, unfortunately, his father is still incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay because the Ministry of Internal Affairs has failed to confirm his identity.

Foreign Ministry officials informed the committee that Saifullah’s nationality had been confirmed by the Home Office and had been communicated to the US government. They said the victim’s getting out soon.

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Senator Walid Iqbal has asked for a report on this matter before the 15th of September.

Who is Saifullah Paracha

Paracha, 74, has been detained in Guantanamo Bay since his arrest in Bangkok in 2003. He was accused of alleged ties to al-Qaeda’s senior leadership.

Paracha is still being held for war, a State Department spokesman told the correspondent, referring to a legal framework that the United States government has used to detain people in violation of the law applied on American soil.

In 2005, a federal court in New York sentenced the son of Paracha, Uzair. He was accused of aiding and abetting terrorism. He was accused, in part, on the basis of the testimony of the same witnesses in Guantanamo Bay that the United States relied on to justify his father’s detention.

Uzair, however, was released and returned to Pakistan in March 2020 after the US government decided not to ask for a new trial after a judge rejected these testimonies.

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