Salman Rabei’i released after 15 years in Guantánamo

Image of a man standing outside of a prison gate with the sun setting behind him

A Yemeni man represented by Reprieve was among ten prisoners released yesterday from Guantánamo Bay to Oman, the US Department of Defense has confirmed.

Salman Rabei‘i was just 22 years old when he was picked up by Afghan forces, passed to the US military and sent to Guantánamo Bay in May 2002. The US was offering substantial payments in exchange for prisoners at that time, and Salman was tortured while in US custody. After almost 15 years imprisoned, he has never been charged with a crime.

“We welcome Salman‘s release, which is nearly 15 years overdue. Barely an adult when he entered, Salman leaves Guantanamo now a grown man, having had almost half his life stolen from him. It takes a relentless spirit to endure the damage that over a decade in Guantanamo does, and that he has. A shy and smart man, our hopes for his future are high and bright.  His large and loving family will rejoice at the news of his freedom.”
Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, Salman‘s Reprieve US attorney

Last month, Salman was cleared for release by six government agencies- including the CIA and Department of Defense – who reviewed his case and found that he was no threat to the United States.

Reprieve attorney Shelby Sullivan-Bennis took on Salman‘s case in summer 2016. At his Periodic Review Board hearing in July, Shelby cited Salman‘s good record of behavior at Guantanamo, and explained that post-release Salman would benefit from the support of his stable and loving family. She described how Reprieve’s Life After Guantanamo resettlement program could help Salman reintegrate into normal life.

45 prisoners remain detained at the US military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, of the 799 prisoners originally sent there by the Bush Administration.



1. Read the Periodic Review Statement by Salman’s Reprieve attorney here. Reprieve is an international human rights organization. Reprieve US, based in New York City, can be contacted on Katherine [dot] oshea [at] Reprieve’s London office can be contacted on: communications [at]

2. More information about Salman‘s case is available on the Reprieve US website, here.