Freed Guantánamo inmate with Moroccan family after 19 years

RABAT, Morocco (AP) — A Moroccan held for 19 years without charges at the U.S. detention facility for terror suspects at Guantánamo Bay has rejoined his family after questioning by police in this North African kingdom, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Abdullatif Nasser, now 56, is the first detainee at the Guantánamo Bay center to be transferred into the custody of his home country under the administration of President Joe Biden.

Upon his arrival on Monday, he was questioned by the National Division of the Judicial Police in Casablanca “on suspicion of committing terrorist acts” before being set free.

“He is now with his family whom he hadn’t seen in almost two decades,” Nasser’s Moroccan attorney, Khalil Idrissi, said. Nasser, who was not available for comment, wants only to catch up with his old life, his attorney said by telephone.

No further action against his client is expected, he added.

Nasser had been a member of a nonviolent but illegal Moroccan Sufi Islam group in the 1980s, according to his Pentagon file. He had been recruited to fight in Chechnya but ended up in Afghanistan, training at an al-Qaida camp. He was captured after fighting U.S. forces and sent to Guantánamo in May 2002.

A review board had recommended repatriation for Nasser in July 2016, but he remained in the detention center at a U.S. naval base in Cuba throughout the presidency of Donald Trump, who opposed closing the site. In announcing Nasser’s transfer home, the Pentagon cited the board’s determination that his detention was no longer necessary to protect U.S. national security.

Almost 800 detainees have passed through Guantánamo . Of the 39 remaining, 10 are eligible for transfers out. They are from Yemen, Pakistan, Tunisia, Algeria and the United Arab Emirates.

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