Washington. For the first time, the government of US President Joe Biden has moved a prisoner from the controversial Guantanamo prison camp to his homeland. A Moroccan prisoner emerges from a Cuban detention camp on Monday. According to the US Department of Defense, an audit committee had already approved the repatriation of Abdullatif Nasser, who is now in his 50s, in July 2016.
According to the Pentagon, the committee concluded that Nasser’s captivity was no longer necessary to protect American security. The prisoner transfer could be a sign that Biden is trying to further reduce the number of prisoners in Guantanamo.
39 more stranded
At present, 39 people are being kept there. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama supported the transfers, but they stalled under Donald Trump.
The US thanked Morocco for its cooperation in the transfer of Nasser. A Defense Ministry statement said the importance was given to the long-standing partnership in safeguarding the national security interests of the two countries. “The United States is also deeply grateful for the Kingdom’s willingness to support the ongoing US effort to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center.”
Nasser first received news of his release in the summer of 2016 when one of his lawyers called him to the detention center and told him that the US had decided he was no longer in danger and could go home. He thought he would soon return to Morocco: “I’ve been here for 14 years,” he said at the time. “A few more months are nothing.”
According to his Pentagon files, Nasser became a member of a nonviolent but illegal Moroccan Islamic group in the 1980s. In 1996 he was recruited to fight in Chechnya, but ended up in Afghanistan, where he was trained in an al-Qaeda camp. After fighting against American troops there, he was captured and deported to Guantanamo in May 2002.
An unnamed military officer appointed to represent Nasser on the examination board said he studied mathematics, computer science and English at Guantanamo. Nasir deeply regrets his past actions and believes he can be reintegrated into society.