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Guantanamo detainee, held since 2002, returns to Kuwait

The last of the Kuwaiti detainees at Guantanamo flew home on Friday.

Fayiz Mohammed Ahmed al-Kandari, 40, had been held at the U.S. jail in Cuba for 13-and-a-half years. He was accused of going to an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan to learn about weapons and recruiting people to participate in jihad, but he denied the charges.

Al-Kandari made several appearances before a board made up of representatives from state, defense, homeland security and intelligence agencies, which determined in September that he no longer posed a “significant threat” to U.S. security.

“The detainee demonstrated a willingness to examine his religious beliefs and engaged more openly with the board,” according to a Periodic Review Board statement issued Sept. 8, 2015.

His release was contingent on the Kuwaiti government providing at least one year of rehabilitation “to reintegrate him with his family and society.”

It also helped that he had family in Kuwait willing to support him once he returned. His brother Abdullah, who also was a prisoner at Guantanamo for six years before he was released, is now a professional athlete, has started a family and “has posed no danger to anyone,” said al-Kandari’s lawyer Barry Wingard at one of his reviews.

The board also noted he has prominent cousins in Kuwait who “are willing to help supervise and guide the detainee.”

Earlier in the week, two other detainees — Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby — were released to Ghana.

Today, 104 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay. President Barack Obama pledged to try to close the detention facility within his time in office. For dozens of remaining detainees, it is difficult to find countries to receive them that will provide the security and monitoring necessary for their release.

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