Pacifist yogi or al-Qaida threat? Guantánamo parole board to decide

April 2014
Miami Herald

...Bihani has never been charged with a crime and is the youngest of seven sons to join the jihad in Afghanistan. Now, as the U.S. is extricating itself from Afghanistan, Bihani wants out of Guantánamo — but not back to his native Yemen.

As his attorney Pardiss Kebriaei tells it, Bihani has argued for years that he wants to get away from the turbulent region still rattled by the legacy of al-Qaida.

“I want a new life, independence — a new country with a better chance,” she quotes him as saying from their first phone call in 2011.

For Tuesday’s session, that’s all the public can hear from him. The Pentagon prohibits the press from listening in to anything but select, pre-approved opening statements.

But documents released on the eve of the hearing — the fourth since the Pentagon launched the process this summer — show the dilemma of what to do about the man who got to Guantánamo in the first days of the detention center and now has the status of a “forever prisoner.”

His lawyer and a military officer assigned to his case describe him as a one-time foot soldier who was the rank equivalent of a U.S. Army private. They say he’s now fed up with life on the fringes of jihad, a sickly man with unchecked diabetes who finds escape on the cellblocks in yoga.

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Last modified 

April 11, 2014