National Security

Biden Administration Sends 1st Guantanamo Prisoner Back To Home Country

Photo by SYLVIE LANTEAUME/AFP via Getty Images

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Ailan Evans Deputy Editor
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The Biden administration announced Monday the first transfer of a Guantanamo Bay prisoner back to his home country.

Abdul Latif Nasir was sent back to his home country of Morocco on Monday, the first detainee to be repatriated under the Biden administration, the Department of Defense (DOD) announced in a statement. Nasir, detained over ties to al-Qaeda, was captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and had been imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility since 2002, the Associated Press reported.

“The United States commends the Kingdom of Morocco for its collaboration in repatriating Abdul Latif Nasir,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

Nasir had been authorized for repatriation by a DOD review board in 2016 but the transfer was never completed under the Trump administration, the DOD said in the statement. Though former President Donald Trump affirmed Nasir’s repatriation, he had said before he took office there would be no more prisoner releases from Guantanamo Bay.

The transfer is part of an effort by the Biden administration to release more Guantanamo Bay prisoners, according to the State Department, continuing efforts by the Obama administration to begin reducing the number of detainees. The DOD’s Periodic Review Board assesses whether the continued detention of a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay is necessary to “protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States.”

“The administration is dedicated to following a deliberate and thorough process focused on responsibly reducing the detainee population of the Guantanamo facility while also safeguarding the security of the United States and its allies,” Price said in the statement.

There are currently 39 prisoners still detained at Guantanamo Bay, according to the DOD. (RELATED: Pentagon Pauses Guantánamo Bay Prisoner COVID-19 Vaccination Plan)

Nasir was taken into custody upon arriving in Morocco and is set to be investigated on suspicion of committing terrorist acts, the Associated Press reported. He was never charged while imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay.

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