WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- A Guantanamo Bay detainee cleared for release in 2009 was sent home to Mauritania, the Defense Department announced Thursday.
Ahmed Ould Abdel Aziz, 45, was in captivity 13 years at the prison and never charged with a crime. A prison profile, leaked in 2008, indicated he was captured by Pakistani officials at a suspected al-Qaida safe house in Karachi, turned over to U.S. authorities and sent to Guantanamo in 2002.
His release is part of President Obama's desire to remove all detainees from the military base in Cuba; 113 remain.
Aziz boarded a U.S. military cargo plane Wednesday and flew to Mauritania, on Africa's west coast. He intends to be reunited with his family and to work at his brother-in-law's newspaper, his lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, said.
"While it's great that Ahmed is home with his family, it's 14 years late, and long after he was cleared. His release was only delayed because he, an innocent man, routinely protested his mistreatment," Smith added.
In a statement, the Defense Department thanked the government of Mauritania for its involvement, and said members of Congress were notified of Aziz's imminent release, in accordance with law.