US releases Moroccan after 14 years at Guantanamo

Another Guantanamo Bay prisoner is released as part of the drawn-out US effort to close the detention center on the US base in Cuba, the Pentagon says Thursday.

Moroccan prisoner Younis Abdurrahman Chekkouri is sent home to his native country after nearly 14 years at Guantanamo after a security review and notification of Congress as required under the law, the Pentagon says in a statement.

Chekkouri, 46, was captured by Pakistan in December 2001 as he fled Afghanistan with other suspected al-Qaeda fighters and was turned over to the United States. He has been held at Guantanamo since May 2002 and has never been charged.

Cori Crider, an attorney for Chekkouri from the human rights group Reprieve, expresses concern that he was not immediately released upon his arrival in Morocco as expected.

“There is no reason for the Moroccan authorities to prolong Younous’ detention after all he has suffered over 14 years,” Crider said.

His release reduces the prison’s population to 115, down by more than half since President Barack Obama took office and pledged to close the prison.

— AP

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