US clears ailing, obese prisoner for release from Guantanamo

FILE - In this March 30, 2010, file photo reviewed by the U.S. military, a U.S. trooper stands in the turret of a vehicle with a machine gun, left, as a guard looks out from a tower at the detention facility of Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

MIAMI (AP) – A prisoner with multiple medical conditions including morbid obesity has been cleared for release from the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Pentagon says a review board determined it is no longer necessary to hold Tarek El-Sawah. The 57-year-old Egyptian has been held for nearly 13 years.

El-Sawah had admitted being an explosives trainer for al-Qaida and at one point faced charges of conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism. But the government withdrew the charges and decided not to pursue new ones for reasons that have not been made public.

El-Sawah’s weight doubled to more than 400 pounds while in custody and he suffered from diabetes and other ailments.

A Pentagon spokesman said Friday that 55 of the 122 prisoners at Guantanamo are now cleared for release.


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