A man who was held in Guantánamo Bay for almost 20 years has been transferred from the prison to his native country of Morocco.
Abdul Latif Nasir, 56, is believed to be the first transfer of a detainee under the Biden administration.
Five years ago, a review board recommended that he be repatriated to his home country.
The panel “determined that law of war detention of Abdul Latif Nasir no longer remained necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the national security of the United States.”
The process of taking him back to Morocco began under the Obama administration. However, it was paused when Donald Trump entered the White House.
After Nasir’s removal, 39 detainees remain in Guantánamo Bay.
In a statement confirming his release, the government said, “The United States commends the Kingdom of Morocco for its long-time partnership in securing both countries’ national security interests.”
“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 statement continued.
A legal charity, Reprieve, represents Nasir and said that during his detention he was denied the basic due process right to contest allegations against him, as he was never charged with a crime.
Reprieve also said that from 2005-2007, he was held in solitary confinement in a windowless cell with the lights constantly on and he had no access to a lawyer.
Nasir went on two hunger strikes to protest the conditions of his detention, Reprieve also said.
“This transfer cannot make up for the two decades of his life that Abdul Latif has lost, held prisoner without charge, but we welcome his return to Moroccan soil at long last,” said Katie Taylor, Reprieve Deputy Director.
“Other transfers of prisoners cleared for release must follow without delay,” she added.
In February, the Biden administration said that it intends to close the Guantánamo Bay detention facility, which opened in 2002.
The facility, which is on the eastern tip of Cuba, was designed for suspects in the war on terror to be interrogated.
However, prisoners have been indefinitely detained, many without charges or trial and subjected to alleged abuse.
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