Guantanamo Bay Author no Threat to the US
Known as the Guantanamo Bay author, Mohamedou Ould Slahi has been detained without trial for over fourteen years in secret prisons in Afghanistan, Jordan, and the infamous Guantanamo Bay.
Despite never being charged with a crime and being considered “an advocate for peace” by his guards with one guard even going so far as to say that he “would be pleased to welcome [Slahi] into my home.” it is only now that Slahi has been deemed safe for release.
Claiming to have been tortured whilst in the secret prisons of Jordan and Afghanistan Slahi documented the horrors he endured and recounted them in his memoir, Guantánamo Diary, which became a bestseller last year. Slahi had admitted to travelling to Afghanistan in the early 1990s to fight the mujahideen against the Soviet-backed government but despite not continuing to fight with, or support al Qaeda after that time, his actions in the early 90s led to accusations of helping to recruit and facilitate the travel of al Qaeda fighters.
Despite a federal judge finding that Slahi was not a member of al Qaeda when the U.S. picked him up and ordering his release in 2010, the case stalled on appeal and Slahi was to spend a further 6 years at Guantanamo. Now under a parole process which was instituted by the Obama administration in order to evaluate the cases of the remaining detainees being kept at Guantánamo designed to determine if they might be safely transferred to another country Slahi is finally free to go home.
With the parole hearings and outcomes of these unconvicted, and uncharged men only part of the process, Slahi’s release would depend upon a country being prepared to take receipt of him and notify Congress of the transfer. Fortunately for Slahi, his home country of Mauritania has already indicated that it would be willing to take him back.
With his plans to continue to write and “highly compliant behaviour in detention,” “candid responses to the Board’s questions,” and “clear indications of a change in the detainee’s mindset.” alongside a strong and supportive network of family members and other close acquaintances it has been deemed that Slahi is no longer a threat to the United States and should be released forthwith.
Today’s announcement comes after official documents were signed authorising Slahi’s release on the fourteenth of this month. 76 men remain incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay, 31 of whom (including Slahi) have been approved for release and with the priority on getting these men to countries willing to take them in it appears that Guantanamo’s days are numbered and it is hoped that the facility will be emptied before Obama’s presidency comes to an end.