Number of Guantanamo Detainees Drops to 39

Abdul Latif Nasir is repatriated to Morocco
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2021 9:32 AM CDT
Number of Guantanamo Detainees Drops to 39
This undated photo released by lawyer Shelby Sullivan-Bennis on Dec. 11, 2017 shows his client Abdul Latif Nasir at the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.   (Shelby Sullivan-Bennis via AP)

The detainee population at Guantanamo Bay has dropped from 40 to 39, marking just the second transfer since former President Obama left office. Abdul Latif Nasir's transfer was cleared in 2016 under that administration, but the Washington Post reports he was one of five such readied transfers that weren't carried out under former President Trump.

  • Background. A member of a nonviolent but illegal Moroccan Sufi Islam group decades ago, Nasir in 1996 was recruited to fight in Chechnya but found himself in Afghanistan. There, he trained with al-Qaeda and was captured while fighting US forces.
  • Where to. Nasir was repatriated to Morocco, with the Pentagon stating that the US is "extremely grateful for the Kingdom’s willingness to support ongoing US efforts to close the Guantánamo Bay Detention Facility."

  • Once there. The Pentagon said little of Nasir's fate there beyond noting the "security and human treatment assurances" given by Morocco, but the AP reports that upon his arrival Monday in Morocco, police there said he would be investigated on suspicion of committing unspecified terrorist acts. He was not charged while in Guantanamo, which he entered in May 2002.
  • His time in Gitmo. NBC News cites allegations from the legal charity Reprieve, which says Nasir spent a period stretching from 2005 to 2007 in solitary confinement in a cell that had no window and in which the lights were never turned off. Reprieve says he went on two hunger strikes while at Guantanamo, while the AP adds the review board that considered his transfer was told he studied math, computer science, and English while there.
  • Biden's first transfer. The State Department said the move was part of a "deliberate and thorough process" being undertaken by President Biden to shave down the number of detainees. Of those who remain, two have been convicted and 10 are engaged in the military commission process used to prosecute detainees. The others are eligible to be transferred or eligible to go through the review process for possible transfer.
(More Guantanamo Bay stories.)

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