Ex-Guantanamo detainee freed from Moroccan prison

Ex-Guantanamo detainee freed from Moroccan prison
Younes Chekkouri tastes freedom for the first time in more than 13 years after being released by Moroccan authorities who detained him following his transfer from Guantanamo Bay.
2 min read
12 February, 2016
A smiling Chekkouri is freed following more than 13 years of imprisonment [Getty]
A former Guantanamo Bay inmate who had been in custody for almost five months after he was promised freedom following his transfer to Morocco has now left prison.

Younes Chekkouri was returned to Morocco free, without criminal charges, after he was detained at the US naval base in Cuba for 13 years.

But Chekkouri was then held by Morroccan authorities upon his return for charges relating to allegations of involvement in a Moroccan extremist group before his capture in 2001, charges which he denies.

"The judge accepted our request of granting him freedom until the end of the investigation," said his lawyer, Khalil al-Idrissi. "But we hope [this step] will be followed with the charges being dropped."

Moroccan authorities had informed the US that they would release Chekkouri within 72 hours of his transfer, but he remained in custody while a criminal investigation against him opened.

, a Moroccan news site, released a video showing a smiling Chekkouri freed following over 13 years of detention.

"Younis at first couldn't believe it, even when he was told to pack his clothes," Idrissi said. "When I joined him at the prison, he was in a state of disbelief."

Reprieve, an international human rights organisation which represented Chekkouri in the US, rejoiced at his release.

"Younis should have been home with his family months ago, but we rejoice that he will be with loved ones tonight, and hope he will see his wife soon, after 14 years," said Repreive's Cori Crider.

Chekkouri was captured by Pakistani forces near the Afghan border in 2001 and transferred to US custody in 2002, according to US defence department documents released by WikiLeaks in 2008.