MIAMI (AP) — Another Guantanamo Bay prisoner has been released as part of the drawn-out U.S. effort to close the detention center on the U.S. base in Cuba, the Pentagon said Thursday.
Moroccan prisoner Younis Abdurrahman Chekkouri was 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 said in a statement.
Chekkouri, 46, was captured by Pakistan in December 2001 as he fled Afghanistan with other suspected al-Qaida 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, expressed concern that he was not immediately released upon his arrival in Morroco 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 prison population to 115, down by more than half since President Barack Obama took office and pledged to close the prison.
U.S. officials have recently said they are looking for potential sites inside the U.S. to hold Guantanamo prisoners but would need Congress to lift a ban on transferring them to the United States.