Guantanamo Bay prison releases alleged former bin Laden body guard to Montenegro

Accused Bin Laden Bodyguard Released from Guantanamo
Accused Bin Laden Bodyguard Released from Guantanamo

Abdel Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab al-Rahab, who has been suspected of being Osama bin Laden's bodyguard and plotting to hijack airliners on 9/11, has been transferred from Guantanamo Bay Prison in Cuba to the Balkan nation of Montenegro.

The Yemini national has been held in the controversial Cuban detention facility for 14 years without being formally charged with a crime. The Defense Department announced his release Wednesday, but it is unclear when the release took place, or how Montenegro plans to care for him.

A review board found in 2014 that he was no longer a threat to the United States, and recommended transfer.

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Closing Guantanamo by the end of President Obama's term in 2017 is a goal of the administration. It was a central pledge of his 2008 campaign for president, but there is growing speculation he will be unable to make good on that pledge, in part because of fierce Republican congressional opposition and Washington gridlock.

The Pentagon credited Montenegro for their "humanitarian gesture and willingness to support" the American effort to close the facility. The transfer was "consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures," the Defense Department said in a statement.

See inside the infamous prison:

Al-Rahab is the second Guantanamo prisoner sent to Montenegro this year, and is expected to set off a new round of releases from the facility, the International Business Times reports. Al-Rahab was originally detained in December 2001, on suspicion of being the bodyguard to bin Laden, at the time the most wanted man in the world. He was also speculated to related to the al-Qaida chief by marriage.

There are 79 total detainees left in the Guantanamo Bay facility.

Obama has said not acting more quickly to close the prison is a major regret of his presidency.

"I think I would have closed Guantanamo on the first day," Obama said in December, responding to a question about what he would do differently on his first day. "I didn't at that time because we had a bipartisan agreement that it should be closed."