The US authorities, represented by the US Department of Defense, announced today, Monday, the transfer of the Moroccan detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Abdellatif Nasser, to his country, Morocco.
Nasir’s return is the first sign of the Biden administration’s renewed effort to transfer prisoners to other countries that pledge to keep them under security, says the New York Times.
The Pentagon noted in a statement that “the detention of Abdul Latif Nasser is no longer necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the national security of the United States,” pursuant to a 2016 Periodic Review Board (PRB) decision.
The Periodic Review Board recommended that Nasser be allowed to return to his native Morocco, subject to guarantees of security and humane treatment.
It was not possible to complete the necessary steps to activate the return before the end of the Obama administration, according to the Pentagon statement.
The Defense Ministry statement commended “the long partnership with the Kingdom of Morocco in preserving the national security interests of the two countries.”
The United States is also very grateful for the Kingdom’s willingness to support continued American efforts to close the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay.
With the departure of Moroccan prisoner Nasser, there are now 39 prisoners in Guantanamo, according to the statement, 11 of whom are accused of war crimes, according to the New York Times.
Abdul Latif Nasser
The Moroccan Abdellatif Nasser, who is now 56, was arrested in Afghanistan after the US campaign against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in 2001, when he was accused of fighting for the two groups.
At its height in the years following the September 11, 2001 attacks and the US intervention in Afghanistan, the prison complex at the US Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay held about 675 men.
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Former President Barack Obama announced that he would close the controversial detention center in November 2008, while he renewed his promises to do so in 2012, citing that Guantanamo had damaged his country’s partnership with countries that help Washington in the war on terrorism.
But none of those promises were fulfilled due to strong opposition in Congress.
Biden and his aides sought to avoid sparking the same kind of backlash by quietly working to start reducing the prison population again.
President Biden had announced his intention to close the Guantanamo prison at the end of his presidential term, as the White House announced last February.
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