Guantánamo

Ex-Guantánamo detainee still detained in Morocco

Younis Chekkouri was featured in a video animation of the hunger strike at the U.S. Navy base created by the Guardian newspaper in October 2013.
Younis Chekkouri was featured in a video animation of the hunger strike at the U.S. Navy base created by the Guardian newspaper in October 2013. Miami Herald screengrab

A judge in Morocco has postponed a decision on releasing a former Guantánamo Bay prisoner who was repatriated from the detention center last month after being held more than 13 years without charge at the U.S. base in Cuba.

The judge postponed a hearing to determine whether to free Younis Abdurrahman Chekkouri until Nov. 4, citing a need for more information about a letter from the U.S. Justice Department letter about any alleged involvement with a group known as Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group, or GICM, according to the British human rights group Reprieve, which has provided legal assistance to him.

Chekkouri, 47, has been imprisoned outside Rabat since he was transferred in September.

He has been detained in Morocco “based on the now-revoked U.S. allegations,” of involvement with the group, Reprieve said in a statement.

Chekkouri was captured by Pakistan in December 2001 and turned over to the United States, which detained him at Guantánamo as a suspected al-Qaida fighter but never charged him with a crime. He sued in a Washington D.C. federal court for his release.

In contesting his bid for release, the U.S. government had alleged he had been involved with the GICM, which was designated a foreign terrorist organization until 2013. The Justice Department said in an Oct. 20 letter to Reprieve, which the human rights group turned over to the judge in Morocco, that the Justice Department withdrew that allegation for various reasons and “ultimately took no position on whether Mr. Chekkouri was affiliated with the GICM.”

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