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Saudi Guantanamo detainee deemed too dangerous for release

Review board says Hassan Bin Attash, who is alleged to have been part of Osama Bin Laden's security detail, still poses 'signfiicant threat' to US
Sixty-one prisoners are still being held at the Guantanamo Bay US Navy base in Cuba (AFP)

A Saudi man who was captured as a teenager and has been held in the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay since 2004 has been declared too dangerous to release by US authorities.

The periodic review board, which assesses whether detainees should be released, said that Hassan Bin Attash posed a "continuing significant threat to the United States".

The decision described Bin Attash, who is believed to be either 31 or 34, as an explosives expert and an aide to senior al-Qaeda leaders.

He is also the younger brother of another Guantanamo detainee, Walid Bin Attash, who is accused of involvement in the 2001 al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington.

In 2009 a federal task force recommended that Hassan Bin Attash should be considered for trial but he has never charged with a crime.

According to their lawyers, the two brothers have never seen each other while in prison, as they have been held in different buildings.

"[Bin Attash] refused to acknowledge that he was affected by his extremist upbringing and indoctrination at an early age,” the review board said in a statement released earlier this week.

"The Periodic Review Board, by consensus, determined that continued law of war detention of the detainee remains necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States.”

It also said that Attash had been responsible for “supporting numerous plots against the US and other Western targets in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Middle East, and North Africa.”

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Bin Attash has been described by his lawyer, David Remes, as Guantanamo's youngest detainee. He is believed to have left Saudi Arabia when he was about 13 and to have still been in his teens when he was captured in Pakistan in 2002.

Leaked prison documents published by Wikileaks in 2011 described Bin Attash as a member of al-Qaeda who had been a member of Osama Bin Laden's security detail.

In a tweet on Thursday, Remes said Bin Attash had been rendered to Jordan from Pakistan, and "unspeakably tortured" in a secret CIA prison.

There are currently 61 prisoners still being held at Guantanamo of whom 24 are considered indefinite detainees too dangerous to release. Twenty have been cleared for release with security assurances, while 10 have been convicted or face war crimes proceedings.