[pjw] NEWS: One transferred from Guantanamo, 39 to go (NBC 7/19)
Peace and Justice Works
pjw at pjw.info
Mon Jul 19 13:03:03 EDT 2021
It was very exciting to read the news this morning that the US transferred
one of the inmates from Guantanamo back to his native Morocco. He
apparently was cleared for release before Trump's election but then, well,
you know. So now only 39 inmates remain.
Sorry to temper the good news with the bad, but there's also a statement
that Biden wants to close the prison "by the end of his first term" which
is even later than the Sept 2022 date set in the House appropriations
Annnnnd.... our friends at Amnesty forwarded this petition from Reprieve
to get Saifullah Paracha, the oldest detainee at Guantanamo at age 73,
So, more work to do, but like water wearing away to build the Grand Canyon
our efforts for peace keep building.
peace and justice works iraq affinity group
Biden administration transfers its first detainee from Guantánamo Bay
The transfer comes after NBC News reported in June that President Joe
Biden had quietly begun efforts to close the detention facility at the
U.S. enclave on the southeast coast of Cuba.
July 19, 2021, 10:43 AM UTC / Updated July 19, 2021, 1:26 PM UTC
By Saphora Smith
The Biden administration has transferred its first detainee out of
Guantanaamo Bay, leaving 39 prisoners at the facility on the
American base in Cuba.
The Department of Defense announced the transfer of Abdul Latif Nasir
to his native Morocco in a statement early Monday.
In 2016, under then-President Barack Obama, a review board determined
that Nasir's detention was no longer necessary to protect against "a
continuing significant threat" to the national security of the United
States, according to the statement.
The board recommended that Nasir be repatriated but the transfer was
not completed by the end of the Obama administration. Nasir was also
not repatriated under former President Donald Trump.
"The United States commends the Kingdom of Morocco for its long-time
partnership in securing both countries' national security interests,"
the statement said.
"The United States is also extremely grateful for the Kingdom's
willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement that
Morocco's facilitation of Nasir's repatriation, alongside its past
willingness to return its foreign terrorist fighters from northeast
Syria, should encourage other nations to repatriate their citizens who
have traveled to fight for terrorist organizations abroad.
The Associated Press reported that Nasir was a member of a nonviolent
but illegal Moroccan Sufi Islam group in the 1980s, citing his Pentagon
file. In 1996, he was recruited to fight in Chechnya but ended up in
Afghanistan, where he trained at an al Qaeda camp, according to the
news agency. He was captured after fighting U.S. forces there and sent
to Guantanamo in May 2002, it added.
The legal charity Reprieve that represents Nasir 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.
Nasir went on hunger strike twice to protest the conditions of his
detention, the charity 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," Reprieve Deputy Director Katie
Taylor said. "Other transfers of prisoners cleared for release must
follow without delay."
Nasir's brother, Mustafa, said his family's prayers had been answered.
"To know that my brother has returned to Morocco fills me with
happiness I cannot even describe," he said in a statement released by
The transfer comes after NBC News reported in June that President
Joe Biden had quietly begun efforts to close the detention facility
at the U.S. enclave on the southeast coast of Cuba.
Sources previously said that the administration hoped to transfer a
handful of the remaining terrorism suspects to foreign countries and
then persuade Congress to permit the transfer of the rest -- including
9/11 suspects -- to detention on the U.S. mainland. Biden hopes to
close the facility by the end of his first term, the people
familiar with the discussions said.
Then-President George W. Bush opened the detention facility in 2002. At
its height, it held nearly 800 detainees, including 9/11 suspects and
fighters from Afghanistan.
During his campaign for president, Obama pledged to shutter the prison
within a year of taking office and two days after being inaugurated
signed an executive order to close it by the end of the year.
However, Congress resisted the transfer of detainees to the U.S. and by
the end of Obama's second term the facility remained open. Obama did
however manage to reduce Guantánamo's population from 245 to 41
detainees, transferring many to foreign countries.
While in office, Trump signed an executive order keeping the facility
open and one detainee was transferred to a foreign country during his
The United States has to negotiate a transfer agreement with a foreign
government for each detainee eligible for transfer, which can be
difficult for detainees from destabilized countries like Yemen.
Biden has ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by
Sept.11. The war in Afghanistan is America's longest and has claimed
the lives of around 2,300 U.S. troops since 2001.
The U.S. invaded the country in 2001 toppling the Taliban group that
sheltered Osama bin Laden, the architect of the terror attacks of Sept.
11 that year. As U.S. troops withdraw, the extremist Islamic movement
is taking control over more territory at a pace that has even taken
some militants by surprise.
Saphora Smith is a London-based reporter for NBC News Digital.
Carol E. Lee, Courtney Kube, Kurt Chirbas and Abigail Williams
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