Sunday, August 1

The US strengthens ties with Morocco: repatriates a Guantánamo prisoner there


Correspondent in Washignton

Updated:

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The White House has moved to Morocco since Guantánamo a Abdulatif Nasir, accused of terrorism and who has been detained since 2001, the beginning of the so-called war against terrorism that George W. Bush began after the 9/11 attacks. Nasir was the only Moroccan among the 39 prisoners left in the military prison inside a US naval base on the island of Cuba.

According to a US official said Monday morning, the White House is negotiating the repatriation of 10 of those prisoners. Another 17 can request their own transfer. There are just a dozen in the trial process, five of them as part of the planning of the attacks against New York and Washington, and two that have already been convicted.

Nasir’s repatriation was approved in 2016, during the administration of Barack Obama, but Donald Trump and his team postponed it, as they decided to renounce the priority of closing that prison, which has been reducing in size over the years. There came to be in that prison 800 inmates, the vast majority repatriated. Many, mere collaborators, were in a normal jail, but a few, the masterminds of the 9/11 attacks and others like them, have lived two decades in isolation, in a maximum security center facing the ocean.

Thanks to Rabat

“We thank Morocco for its cooperation in this matter,” said that White House official in a call with journalists. The Pentagon reiterated that message. “USA. congratulates the Kingdom of Morocco for its strong alliance to defend the national security interests of both countries, “he said in a statement.

Relations between Rabat and Washington have grown closer in recent years. Last year, the Moroccan crown agreed to establish diplomatic ties with Israel in exchange for Trump’s recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, against the criteria of Spain.

Obama tried unsuccessfully to close the prison, opened in Cuba after the attacks of the September 11, 2001. The Guantanamo naval base is in an area rented to Cuba before the Castro regime took power, which is calling for its evacuation.

Trump even raised the idea of ​​increasing the prison population at Guantánamo, a plan that he failed to implement. Biden, in principle, maintains that goal of closing it, although there is no expectation that this will happen imminently.

The State Department “is convinced that a deliberate and meticulous process should be followed focused on reducing the population of detainees in the Guantánamo prison, while maintaining the security of the United States and its allies,” he said. in a statement Monday.

Among the prisoners at Guantánamo is Khaled Sheij Mohamed and four other masterminds of the 9/11 attacks, awaiting trial for having killed more than 3,000 people. These processes are stalled, faced with political opposition to his transfer to New York to be tried. Congress even prohibited the transfer of prisoners from Guantánamo to North American soil. Obama did get 197 of them released before handing over to Trump. In his tenure, Bush has already transferred 500.

The director of US National Intelligence published a report in 2016 stating that 17% of the 728 Guantanamo detainees had most certainly returned to fight against the US, in Afghanistan, Iraq and other sources of conflict. , and that 12% were suspected of having done so.

The judicial commission that decides on the inmates at the naval base determined that Nasser’s detention is no longer necessary to protect US national security, the Pentagon reported Monday. Nasser arrived in Morocco on Monday, where according to Efe the police detained him and said they would investigate him as a suspect for committing terrorist acts, although he was never formally charged in his country during his stay in Guantánamo.

Nasser’s lawyer in Morocco, Khalil IdrissiHe later said that the years that Nasser spent in Guantánamo “were unjustified and outside the law, and what he suffered continues to be a stain of disgrace on the forehead of the US system,” according to the Ap agency.

Human rights organizations have been calling for the closure of the Guantánamo prison for years, amid complaints of mistreatment and even torture during interrogations.

In January, Amnesty International published a report in which it denounced alleged human rights violations, past and present, in that Guantánamo detention center. It denounces that victims of torture are detained indefinitely without adequate medical assistance and without a fair trial.

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