Morocco: Former Guantanamo inmate charged with 'endangering state security'

Morocco: Former Guantanamo inmate charged with 'endangering state security'
Video: A former prisoner of the infamous detention camp will stand trial in Morocco as President Obama makes a renewed effort to shut Gitmo down.
2 min read
24 February, 2016
A Moroccan court has decided to prosecute a former Guantanamo Bay inmate for "endangering state security", as US President Barack Obama makes a renewed bid to close the infamous detention camp.

Rabat's Attorney-General on Tuesday charged Younes Chekkouri with endangering the security of the state, dropping previous terrorism charges, and released him temporarily.

"The court is charging Chekkouri with the crime of infringement on the internal security of the state and referred the case to the investigating judge. Now the case is in his hands," Chekkouri's lawyer, Khalil al-Idrissi, said outside the courthouse.

"After several sessions, we requested his temporary release and the judge accepted this release. Chekkouri is now free but after spending four months or more in Sale prison," Idrissi said.

"We expect the process to continue but in a positive direction for Chekkouri to get his full freedom," he added.

In September last year, the US released Chekkouri after 14 years in captivity.

But when Chekkouri arrived back home, he was promptly arrested on charges of "belonging to an extremist group" before his capture in 2001.

He was temporarily released earlier this month almost five months after he was promised freedom following his transfer to Morocco.

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.

Read more: Ex-Guantanamo detainee freed from Moroccan prison

Guantanamo closure

Also on Tuesday, President Barack Obama presented a long-shot plan to close down Guantanamo Bay, hoping to fulfill an elusive campaign promise before he leaves office next year.

Describing the jail as a stain on America's reputation and a catalyst for militants, Obama said: "I don't want to pass this problem on to the next president.

"For many years, it's been clear that the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay does not advance our national security. It undermines it," Obama said from the Roosevelt Room.

He outlined a $290-$475 million plan to move the 91 remaining detainees abroad and to one of 13 possible - unnamed - facilities in the US.

Obama has tried for almost eight years to close the jail but has been thwarted by Congress, his own Department of Defense and some in his own party.