Some observers speculated that the delay in al-Darbi's repatriation was a sign that the Trump administration was unwilling to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo Bay, consistent with certain public statements by President Trump.
Ahmed al-Darbi is seen in this undated photo.
Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Haza al-Darbi was transferred to Saudi Arabia from the detention center, bringing the number of detainees remaining at Guantanamo Bay to 40, the Department of Defense said.
But news of the move came as the Pentagon said Defence Secretary Jim Mattis had sent the White House guidance on how Guantanamo might again start receiving new inmates - an oft-stated goal of Trump.
Darbi pleaded guilty in 2014 to war crimes in relation to what military prosecutors characterized as plots to attack worldwide ships in the Middle East.
Al-Darbi is returning to Saudi Arabia as part of plea deal. In 2017, he was sentenced to thirteen years of confinement.
The Pentagon said the secretary of defense notified Congress of the transfer in accordance with statutory requirements. "No one should remain at Guantanamo without a trial".
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The transfer has been made in coordination with the Saudi government to verify all procedure standards and humane treatment are being followed carefully, according to the release.
Those policies concern detainees captured on the battlefield and their transfer to Guantanamo Bay. Notably, the Justice Department filed a court document on April 17 indicating that an unnamed country widely believed to be Saudi Arabia had agreed to accept the transfer of John Doe-a suspected Islamic State fighter and dual U.S. -Saudi national held by U.S. forces in Iraq-and provided adequate assurances regarding his treatment.
The move is unlikely to mark a shift in administration policy regarding prisoner transfers, which Trump has suggested threaten USA security.
Trump has pledged to keep the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay open and in his State of the Union speech Trump suggested he wanted to send more detainees to Guantanamo.
The Pentagon announced his transfer Wednesday.
And a U.S. Defense official tells CNN the Pentagon is in the, quote, "final stages" on those recommendations.
The remaining population at Guantanamo is now 40, but Trump has vowed to send more detainees to the prison, which is located on a U.S. naval base on the southeastern tip of Cuba.