Mauritanian Guantanamo prisoner who published diary set free

Marcos T. Hernandez

Marcos T. Hernandez Reuters

Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who has been held in the Guantanamo detention camp without charge or trial since 2002, has been transferred back to his home country of Mauritania.

A longtime Guantanamo Bay prisoner, who wrote a best-selling book about his experiences in the controversial military prison, has been released to his home country of Mauritania, the Pentagon said on Tuesday. His case "only further underlines the need to take corrective action to close Guantanamo", he said.

A profile of Slahi read at the beginning of the June hearing called Slahi by his prisoner identification number, MR-760, and noted that "Throughout his detention, MR-760 has maintained his support for jihad, but clarifies that his notion of jihad neither condones the killing of innocent people nor supports Bin Ladin's 'version of justice'". Obama delivered his plan to close Guantanamo to Congress this year, proposing to transfer prisoners deemed too risky for release to stateside prisons.

Slahi admitted to swearing loyalty to Osama bin Laden in 1990 but stressed in his interviews with interrogators, with his that he did not have any knowledge of the September 11, 2001, attacks prior to the event. He subsequently broke ties with the group, left Afghanistan, and worked for several years as an engineer in Germany, returning to Mauritania in 2001, according to the ACLU.

Slahi was detained in 2001 in Mauritania and rendered to Jordan for interrogation by the Central Intelligence Agency.

In 2005, Slahi wrote a 446-page handwritten account of his imprisonment, titled Guantanamo Diary. According to a Senate report, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved a special interrogation practices for Slahi at Guantanamo, including the use of dogs and sleep and sensory deprivation. While he admitted to an association with al-Qaida, his lawyers say the other allegations fell apart over time. In 2015, Guantanamo Diary, a memoir of Slahi's time at the detention facility, was released. The book, which was released past year, addresses his treatment at the hands of his USA captors.

Nancy Hollander, one of Slahi's attorneys, said her client "wants nothing more than to be with his family and rebuild his life".

A joint review board of U.S. security and intelligence officials cleared Slahi for release in July after determining his detention is not necessary "to protect against a continuing significant threat to the United States", the Department of Defense's Periodic Review Secretariat said.

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