Department of Defense officials today admitted to holding a man prisoner at Guantanamo Bay for 13 years after mistaking him for someone else, reports The Guardian.

His name is Mustafa al-Aziz al-Shamiri, and he was captured in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan in 2002. The Department of Defense had a pretty good idea he was some sort of al-Qaeda courier muckety-muck, according to a DOD profile acknowledging the confusion:

Mustafa Abd-al-Qawi Abd-al-Aziz al-Shamiri (YM-434) fought in several jihadist theaters and associated with al-Qa’ida members in Afghanistan. It was previously assessed that YM-434 also was an al-Qa’ida facilitator or courier, as well as a trainer, but we now judge that these activities were carried out by other known extremists with names or aliases similar to YM-434’s.

OK, right on, simple mistake—the world’s a confusing enough place before you add in aliases and whatnot. You’d hope, though, that it wouldn’t take the U.S. government 13 goddamn years to iron things out.

As for Mustafa, his representatives said his spirits have remained high:

From our initial encounter and all subsequent meetings, Mustafa has been very cooperative, enthusiastic, and supportive in the preparation for his Periodic Review Board. From the onset, he has demonstrated a consistent positive attitude towards life after GTMO. He has a strong desire to obtain an education in order to provide for a future spouse that his family has already located for him. In his approximate thirteen years at GTMO, Mustafa has been compliant receiving few disciplinary infractions. During his recent time as a block leader, he was regularly commended by the Officer in Charge for solving routine daily detainee issues.

The Department of Defense, having acknowledged their error—which (important detail, here) cost a man 13 years in a foreign prison camp for terrorists—still seems a little concerned that Mustafa, you know, knows people:

YM-434 has corresponded with former Guantanamo detainees who would be well-placed to facilitate his reengagement in terrorism should he chose to return to jihad. We have no reason to believe YM-434 has discussed terrorism, regional conflicts, or violence in general.

If YM-434 returned to Yemen, he probably would seek out opportunities to rejoin his family in Sanaa, where AQAP and other Sunni extremists frequently conduct operations against the Huthis and the Yemeni Government. There are, however, no indications that YM-434’s family members are engaged in terrorist activity.

Mustafa and his representatives today met with “a panel assessing whether he can be released”. Meanwhile, President Obama vowed to fight for the closure of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay “until my very last day as president.”

[The Guardian]

Image via AP