- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 21, 2016

One of three detainees cleared for release from the Guantanamo Bay detention center refused to leave the facility Wednesday, complicating President Obama’s plans to shut down the prison before leaving office.

Yemeni detainee Mohammad Bwazir, 35, refused to board a plane taking him to an unspecified country that offered him sanctuary because he has no relatives there, the Miami Herald reported.

His lawyer, John Chandler, declined to say which country offered Mr. Bwazir sanctuary, but he told the Herald: “It’s a country I’d go to in a heartbeat.”

But Mr. Chandler said his client was too afraid to board the U.S. military flight early Wednesday that brought Tariq el Sawah, 58, an Egyptian, to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Yemeni Abdulaziz al Swidi, 41, to Montenegro for resettlement.

“He’s been in Guantanamo so long that he was terrified about going to a country other than one where he had family,” Mr. Chandler said.

Mr. Bwazir had wanted to go to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia or Indonesia, where he had relatives. It’s not clear what will happen to him, but he remains approved for transfer.

The latest transfer brings the prison population at Guantanamo down to 91. There are 34 detainees approved for release who are still waiting for countries to accept them, 10 are in military commissions and the remaining 47 are deemed too dangerous to transfer.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has not issued any new notifications for transfers to Congress, the Miami Herald reported.

This means that, due to a 30-day notification requirement on transfers, there will be no additions transfers for at least a month.


• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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