Oldest Gitmo Prisoner Loses Bid for Freedom

Saifullah Paracha, 68, considered too dangerous for release
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2016 11:11 AM CDT
Oldest Gitmo Prisoner Loses Bid for Freedom
Guantanamo prisoner Saifullah Paracha.   (Provided by David H. Remes via AP)

Guantanamo's oldest prisoner won't soon return to Pakistan or the US as he had hoped: The Guantanamo parole board has ruled that 68-year-old Saifullah Paracha will remain in custody as "a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States." The Pakistani businessman has been in custody since 2003 over claims that he worked with alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed to facilitate financial transactions and develop propaganda for al-Qaeda, reports the Miami Herald. Paracha—who lived in the US from 1970 to 1986—was also allegedly in contact with Osama bin Laden and researched chemical and nuclear materials for the terrorist group, though he was never charged with a crime.

During a hearing on March 8, Paracha—whose son was convicted of trying to help an al-Qaeda operative reach the US—said he "never worked with anybody to harm anyone," was "duped" into handling certain finances, and only tried to secure an interview with bin Laden while chairman of a TV broadcasting studio in Karachi. The board says his "refusal to take responsibility for his involvement with al-Qaeda" and "refusal to distinguish between legitimate and nefarious business contacts" made their decision clear, though Paracha's lawyer says he "cannot show 'remorse' for things he maintains he never did." The prisoner will respond to the board’s concerns in a review in October, his lawyer adds, per the AP. (Read more Guantanamo Bay stories.)

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