- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Obama administration has released another Guantanamo Bay detainee to his home to Mauritania, the Defense Department announced Thursday.

Ahmed Ould Abdel Aziz, 45, was held for 13 years at the prison and never charged with a crime. Cleared for release since 2009, Aziz boarded a U.S. military cargo plane Wednesday and was flown to Africa’s west coast to be reunited with his family.

His lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, called Aziz “an innocent man” and said his release was delayed for so long only because he “routinely protested his mistreatment.”

His release is part of President Obama’s effort to remove all detainees from the military base in Cuba; 113 remain.

The Defense Department thanked the government of Mauritania for its involvement, and said members of Congress were notified of Aziz’s imminent release, in accordance with law.

A prison profile, leaked in 2008, indicated that Aziz was captured by Pakistani officials at a suspected al-Qaeda safe house in Karachi, turned over to U.S. authorities and sent to Guantanamo in 2002.

Mr. Obama promised in the 2008 presidential campaign to close the Guantanamo detention facility, but Congress has resisted his efforts.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Democrats and Republicans “have not been helpful to this effort, and that’s ironic, because they’re actually bipartisan agreement that closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay is clearly in the best interests of the United States. This is something that President [George W.] Bush himself observed as well.”

He said the White House hopes Congress “will at a minimum just get out the way so we can do this important work.”

This article is based in part on wire-service reports.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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