Moroccan prisoner Abdullatif Nasser had been detained by the United States since 2002 without being charged with a crime.
The United States has transferred a detainee from the country Guantanamo Bay detention facility for the first time since President Joe Biden took office, sending a Moroccan man home years after he was recommended for discharge.
Moroccan prisoner Abdul Latif Nasser, who is about 50 years old, was authorized for repatriation by a review committee in July 2016, but remained at Guantanamo during the tenure of former President Donald Trump.
The Periodic Review Board process determined that Nasser’s arrest was no longer necessary to protect U.S. national security, the Pentagon said Monday in a statement.
In 2016, the board recommended permission for the repatriation of Nasser, but the process could not be completed before the end of the administration of former President Barack Obama, who had closed the controversial detention center, lengthened by accusations of extrajudicial imprisonment, denial of rights and torture: a priority of his presidency.
D’Obama try to close the installation they were blocked by Republicans in Congress, who restricted the ability to move detainees to the Americas.
Both Obama and his predecessor George W Bush supported the prisoner transfer process. However, this process largely stopped under Trump, who said before taking office that there should be no more “Gitmo” releases, as Guantanamo Bay is often called.
“These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed to return to the battlefield,” he said then.
The move by Nasser could suggest that President Biden is making efforts to reduce the population of Guantánamo, which now stands at 39. At its peak, the complex housed about 800 detainees.
The White House in Biden launched a study in February on how to close the prison, but has tried not to over-promise after the failure of Obama’s promise.
It is held at no charge
The US thanked Morocco for facilitating Nasser’s move to his home.
“The United States commends the Kingdom of Morocco for its long collaboration in securing the national security interests of both countries,” the Pentagon statement said.
“The United States is also very grateful for the Kingdom’s willingness to support the United States’ efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center.”
Nasser’s journey to the Cuban prison was long.
According to his Pentagon record, he was part of a non-violent but illegal Moroccan Sufi Islamist group. In 1996 he was recruited to fight in Chechyna, but ended up in Afghanistan, where he trained in an al-Qaeda camp.
He was captured after fighting American forces and sent to Guantánamo in May 2002.
An unidentified military official appointed to represent him before the review board said he studied mathematics, computer science and English at Guantanamo, creating a 2,000-word Arabic-English dictionary.
The official told the board that Nasser “deeply regrets his past actions” and expressed confidence in his reintegration into society.
The former detainee was never charged with a crime.