Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Last Moroccan Detainee Held in Guantanamo Transferred to Rabat

Last Moroccan Detainee Held in Guantanamo Transferred to Rabat

Tuesday, 20 July, 2021 - 10:15
Abdul Latif Nasser. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Abdul Latif Nasser, the last Moroccan man held in Guantanamo Bay prison, was handed over to the Moroccan government.

In a statement, the public prosecutor at the Court of Appeal in Rabat Abdelaziz Raji said the National Division of the Judicial Police in Casablanca had been instructed to open an investigation into Nasser “on suspicion of committing terrorist acts.”

Nasser has been in the prison for 18 years. He was first arrested in Afghanistan in 2001 and transferred to Guantanamo in 2002 following the 9/11 attacks

The State Department said in a statement that the Biden administration would continue “a deliberate and thorough process focused on responsibly reducing the detainee population of the Guantanamo facility.”

Of the 39 detainees remaining at Guantanamo, 10 are eligible to be transferred out, 17 are eligible to go through the review process for possible transfer, and 19 are involved in the military commission process used to prosecute detainees and two have been convicted, a senior administration official said.

The official underscored that the “Biden administration will apply all the necessary diplomatic resources to facilitate the transfer of detainees found eligible.”

“The United States commends the Kingdom of Morocco for its long-time partnership in securing both countries’ national security interests,” a Pentagon statement said.

“The United States is also extremely grateful for the Kingdom’s willingness to support ongoing US efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility.”

The US thanked Morocco for its willingness to take Nasser, as well as foreign terrorists in Syria, saying Morocco’s leadership “should encourage other nations to repatriate their citizens who have traveled to fight for terrorist organizations abroad,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

The legal charity Reprieve that represents Nasser said he was denied the basic due process right to contest allegations against him, as he was never charged with a crime. It said that from 2005-2007, he was held in solitary confinement in a windowless cell with the lights on constantly and had no access to a lawyer.

Nasser went on hunger strike twice to protest the conditions of his detention, the charity said.

Editor Picks