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US clears Al-Awdah for release from Guantanamo Efforts to continue for Kanderi release

WASHINGTON, July 25, (Agencies): The United States has cleared the release of a Kuwaiti man held at the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for more than 12 years because of his suspected links to terrorism. The US Periodic Review Board, which is reviewing the cases of dozens of detainees held at the prison, ruled July 14 that Fawzi Al-Awdah no longer needed to be held for national security reasons. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel still must notify Congress of the US intent to transfer Al-Awdah to Kuwaiti authorities. In a statement on Friday, his attorney, Eric Lewis, praised Kuwaiti authorities for working with the US on a post-release program, which includes keeping Al-Awdah in a rehabilitation center for at least a year.

“We are grateful to the board for clearing Fawzi for release and for the tremendous effort by the State of Kuwait, at its highest levels, to repatriate its citizens,” Lewis said. Last fall, Kuwait’s Amir His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah asked President Barack Obama to speed the process of releasing Al-Awdah, one of two Kuwaiti prisoners still being held at Guantanamo. Obama wants to close the facility, which currently holds about 150 detainees. Al-Awdah had never been charged. Back in 2008, the Defense Department labeled him a high-risk detainee and recommended his continued detention. A department memo dated Jan 2, 2008, said Al-Awdah was believed to be a member of al-Qaeda who had sworn allegiance to Osama bin Laden, the group’s deceased leader. The detainee’s name was listed on al-Qaeda affiliated documents, and he was a reported member of an al-Qaeda cell in London. He also was believed to have participated in hostilities against US and coalition forces.

His lawyer said the 37-year-old Al-Awdah poses no threat to the US and would seek to start a family and work in his father’s plumbing supply business once he is returned to his homeland. Efforts will continue with Washington, with the same force, for the repatriation of Al-Awdah’s compatriot Fayez Al-Kanderi in the quickest time possible, added a source. The family of Fouzi Al-Awdah’s was congratulated by the source, who expressed gratitude for the cooperation of the United States government and hoped this cooperation would continue until the release of Al-Kanderi.

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