The Obama administration requested in April that a Kenyan Islamic terrorist, jailed at Guantanamo Bay since 2007 be transferred to an Israeli facility and tried by Israel, according to a Friday report in the Miami Herald.
American intelligence has connected the inmate, Mohammed Abed al-Malik Bajabo, to a terror attack against Israeli tourists in Mombasa in 2002. Senior American sources said that Israel said it was prepared to accept and try the prisoner but that the process hasn’t moved forward since because the FBI has yet to give Israel the interrogation transcripts and other documents.
Over the past few years, the Obama administration has tried to pass all of the suspected terrorists held in Guantanamo in Cuba to third-party countries with the end goal of shutting down the prison. Guantanamo is infamous for a lack of judicial procedure and its use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” labeled as such by the administration of George W. Bush, but considered torture by many others.
Some of the prisoners from Guantanamo were eventually tried in U.S. courts, others were released and the remaining few, 29 in all, can’t legally be tried in the U.S. on one hand, and can’t be released on the other, due to the alleged danger they pose. This situation led the administration to search for other countries across the world that would agree to try the prisoners in their territory.
In April, the U.S. Foreign Ministry’s Special Envoy for Guantanamo, Lee Wolosky, visited Israel and met with senior Israeli officials who expressed interest in accepting the Kenyan prisoner.
According to the Miami Herald report, the Israeli government asked the U.S. for relevant information from the investigation into Bajabo in order to move forward with the process, but the FBI refused to pass along the material, which includes Bajabo’s confession of involvement in the Mombasa attack.
Without the materials, the process cannot move forward and has effectively remained blocked for several months.
Three Israeli tourists and 14 Kenyans were killed in Mombasa on November 28, 2002 when terrorists from an al-Qaida-affiliated organization detonated a car bomb and their suicide vests at the hotel Paradise.
On the same day, terrorists attempted to shoot down an Akria airlines flight from Mombasa to Tel Aviv, firing two anti-air missiles during take off.