Prisoner Leaves Gitmo, but Freedom Eludes Him

Inside the case of Younis Shokuri
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2016 10:13 AM CST
A detainee is seen in the communal area inside Camp 6 in the US detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.    (AP Photo/Ben Fox)

(Newser) – Younis Shokuri spent 14 years imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay. He got out in September only to be held again, and the New York Times reports on his "legal limbo." Repatriated to his native Morocco, Shokuri now is in the custody of that country's government, despite its assurances that he likely would be released within 72 hours of arrival. Cori Crider, one of Shokuri's lawyers, maintains "the United States did not do enough to correct the record with the Moroccans before sending him back." As for what potentially needed correcting, the Times goes back to the start: Shokuri arrived in Afghanistan by way of Pakistan in the 1990s but attempted to leave after 9/11. He ended up arrested and in Guantanamo.

The US suspected, among other things, that he was part of a terrorist group bent on overthrowing Morocco's monarchy. But by 2011 it had dropped that allegation. As for why he's not yet a free man, unnamed officials tell the Times what Morocco has reportedly told the US: that Shokuri's comments during those 72 hours changed things. "That really feels to me like an explanation that has been made up after the fact," Crider says. A State Department rep simply said the US maintains "an ongoing dialogue with the government of Morocco." The Times sees the whole case as emblematic of a larger wrinkle related to clearing out Gitmo: finding a country not just willing to take a detainee, but one "that can be trusted to keep an eye on him without abusing him." (Read more Guantanamo Bay stories.)

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