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July 12, 2012

Longtime Gitmo inmate sent home to Sudan

Al-Qaida follower and occasional driver for Osama Bin Laden, Ibrahim al-Qosi, has been sent home to his family in Sudan after 11 years in Gitmo. (UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg)

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (UPI) -- One of longest-held prisoners at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was sent home to Sudan, U.S. officials said.

Returned to his home Tuesday was 52-year-old Ibrahim al-Qosi, a confessed al-Qaida follower and occasional driver for al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden, The Miami Herald reported.

Ibrahim al-Qosi pleaded guilty to terror charges in July 2010 in exchange for the possibility of release after he served a two-year prison sentence.

The transfer reduced the number of foreign prisoners at the Navy base to 168. The Herald said onetime "child soldier" Omar Khadr could be transferred to a penal facility in his native Canada and the White House also reportedly was considering moving some Taliban captives at Guantanamo to Afghanistan as part of a peace accord in that region.

"He is now in his 50s, eager only to spend his life at home with his family in Sudan ... in peace, quiet and freedom," said Washington, D.C., attorney Paul Reichler, who defended al-Qosi free for seven years.

Pakistani forces captured al-Qosi in December 2001 as he fled the U.S. assault on al-Qaida at Tora Bora. Al-Qosi was turned over to U.S. forces in Afghanistan, who sent him to the Guantanamo detention facility when the Pentagon opened it.

Once al-Qosi completes a re-entry program in Khartoum, he planned to settle in Atbara to help run a family business, the Herald said.

"He is an intelligent, pious, humble and sincere individual who has endured much hardship the past 10 years," Reichler said. "But he returns home without hatred or rancor."

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