The United States has sanctioned on Wednesday a Russian ex-Gitmo detainee named Ayrat Nasimovich Vakhitov as a “foreign terrorist fighter” who is currently recruiting militants online to join the fight in Syria.

It was determined that Nasimovich had ties with Jaysh al-Muhajirin Wal Ansar, a terrorist group sanctioned as well by the State Department. The groups have been in relations with ISIS and more recently, Al Qaeda, as reported by CBS News.

Ayrat Nasimovich Vakhitov. Credit: ICRC photo.

Nasimovich was arrested in Turkey due to alleged connections with the June terrorist attack in Istanbul, which left 36 deaths and 147 injured. The terrorist act first started with guns, but then the men perpetrating the act activated their bombs.

A global terrorist

The Russian was held in the Guantanamo Bay prison during 2002 after he was captured in Afghanistan and served time in the prison until 2004. The man was transferred to Russian custody by the Bush administration in an attempt to relieve the prison’s population.

It appears that the primary motive for the sanction by the State Department this day was his alleged act in the Turkey attacks, although authorities did not confirm nor denied those allegations. Nasimovich assets will be now frozen after the designation as a terrorist, which would make it for him even harder to ever cross a border.

The resurgence of an ex-Gitmo detainee could make it harder for the Obama administration to try to shut down once and for all the prison. It has as well raised questions about the effectivity to return detainees to their countries or origin and the ability of those to guard them.

“It’s time for the president to halt all releases, and fundamentally reassess his plan to close the terrorist prison at Guantanamo Bay,” commented House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-California, in response to the designation.

According to the State Department, Nasimovich was one of the 532 released from Guantanamo Bay by the Defense Department during the Bush administration. The agency did not offer any specific details of his release but did point out that the Obama administration has changed the review process since its predecessor.

It was commented that the measures taken in the present consider a possible re-engagement with some of the current terrorist organizations. Both administrations have agreed that the prison should be shut down, and the main reason to consider it is that is qualified as a drain on resources, a facility that damages relationships with allies and emboldens extremists.

The State Department also designated another Russian as an ally to ISIS, Aslan Avgazarovich Byutukaev, also known as Amir Khamzat. The man is the ISIS leader in Chechnya, responsible for multiple bombings in Russian. One of the attacks occurred in January 2011 at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport, 35 were killed.

Source: CBS News