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Concerns raised over welfare of Guantanamo detainee released to Morocco

UNITED KINGDOM - Lawyers at international human rights organization Reprieve are increasingly concerned for the safety and well-being of their client Younous Chekkouri, a Moroccan national who was recently released from Guantanamo Bay.

Reprieve representatives today learned that Mr Chekkouri has been transferred from Guantánamo and is in Morocco, but have been unable to meet or speak to him since the US handed him to Moroccan authorities. He is being held in an unknown location, and has not been allowed so far to contact his local lawyer, in apparent violation of Moroccan law.

Younous spent 14 years in US detention, despite being unanimously cleared for release by the six main US government security and intelligence agencies – including the CIA, FBI, and Departments of State and Defense - in 2009. This decision stated that Younous posed no threat whatsoever to either the US or its allies. In all the time Younous was held by the US, he was not charged with any crime and did not face a trial. 

Younous’ only concern upon his release was to be reunited with his family and to be allowed to start rebuilding his life.

Cori Crider, Reprieve’s strategic director and Younous’ lawyer, said: “There is no reason for the Moroccan authorities to prolong Younous’ detention after all he has suffered over 14 years. Younous is thankful for all their diplomatic efforts to secure his release – it is inexplicable, therefore, that they would now prevent him from returning to those who love him and who are waiting to help him back onto his feet. He must be permitted to see his lawyers and his family without further delay.”

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Reprieve is a UK-based human rights organization that uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay.

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