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Ghassan Abdullah al-Sharbi is a Saudi with an electrical engineering degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona.

He was initially charged with conspiracy before the military commissions on November 7, 2005, but those charges were thrown out in June 2006 when the US Supreme Court ruled that the military commissions were unlawful. In September 2006, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act, authorizing the new set of military commissions.

On May 28, 2008, al-Sharbi was charged before the new military commissions with conspiracy to commit terrorism and providing material support for terrorism. Specifically, the government alleges that after receiving his university degree he left Saudi Arabia for Afghanistan to receive arms training at an Al-Qaeda training camp.

After September 11, 2001, the government claims al-Sharbi moved to Pakistan, where he received additional training on how to build circuit boards to set off remote-control bombs in Afghanistan. He was arrested on March 28, 2002, along with several other suspects, when US and Pakistani forces raided a house in Faisalabad, Pakistan. If convicted, he faces life imprisonment.

However, on October 21, 2008, the United States withdrew the charges against al-Sharbi and four others, saying it would probably refile new charges in the future. The announcement came in the wake of the resignation of Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld, one of the prosecutors on his case, who said that the military commissions did not have a proper system in place to provide exculpatory evidence to the defense. The US government re-filed charges against al-Sharbi in January 2009, which were subsequently dismissed.

On March 4, 2016, al-Sharbi appeared before a US government interagency review board created during the Barack Obama administration charged with reviewing whether prisoners at Guantanamo could be released from the facility. On July 25, 2016 the review board denied al-Sharbi release. Since US President Donald Trump was elected, the interagency review board has continued to operate but the Trump administration has not shown a strong commitment to the process. Though Guantanamo detainees can seek to have interagency review boards review their cases, Trump has said there should be no further releases from Guantanamo and lawyers for detainees contend that the review process is not genuine. Al-Sharbi has had his file reviewed by the board three times during the Trump administration but the board has denied his release each time. He has been detained without charge at Guantanamo for 16 years. (Last updated August 9, 2018)


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