Biden Admin Releases Guantanamo Bay Inmate Accused of Aiding Al Qaeda

Saifullah Paracha allegedly met with Osama bin Laden before 9/11 terror attack

The main gate at the prison in Guantanamo at the U.S. Guantanamo Naval Base
The main gate at the prison in Guantanamo at the U.S. Guantanamo Naval Base / Getty Images
October 31, 2022

The Biden administration last week released a Guantanamo Bay inmate accused of assisting al Qaeda's financial transactions after the 9/11 terror attacks.

Cleared for release in May 2021 and returned to Pakistan Saturday, 75-year-old Saifullah Paracha has been in custody since 2003. He was never charged with a crime but had been deemed too dangerous for release until last year.

Holding Paracha under the law of war "was no longer necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States," the Department of Defense said in a statement.

Paracha was accused of meeting with Osama bin Laden before the attacks, the New York Times reports:

In his file, U.S. intelligence agencies said he had helped Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, "facilitate financial transactions and propaganda" after the attacks, and said he met with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan before the attacks as part of a delegation of Pakistani dignitaries.

For his part, Mr. Paracha claimed in an unsuccessful federal court petition for his release that he did not know Mr. Mohammed’s true identity or his role in the Sept. 11 plot. He said he held some money for him and allowed Mr. Mohammed’s nephew to use an editing studio in Karachi out of a sense of Muslim kinship, not ideology, and he denounced violence and denied affiliation with Al Qaeda.

Thirty-five detainees remain at the prison, and 20 are eligible for transfer. The Biden administration has released several inmates, including one in March who helped plan the 9/11 attacks.

Published under: Guantanamo , Terrorism