Guantánamo parole board clears captive for return to Casablanca

Moroccan Abdul Latif Nasir in a photo from his 2008 prison profile provided to McClatchy by WikiLeaks.
Moroccan Abdul Latif Nasir in a photo from his 2008 prison profile provided to McClatchy by WikiLeaks.

The Guantánamo parole board disclosed Tuesday that it cleared the last Moroccan detainee for return to his homeland, raising to 29 the number of cleared men at the 76-captive detention center.

Abdul Latif Nasir, 51, got to Guantánamo May 3, 2002 and was profiled by U.S. intelligence in March as a Taliban aligned commander and weapons trainer who “led a retreat from Jalalabad, Afghanistan ... in late 2001 and acted in a leadership role at Tora Bora during fighting against U.S. forces.”

The multi agency Periodic Review Board recommended Nasir be repatriated to his native Morocco, no where else, because he had family there and prospects for support and employment. That appeared to be just fine with the man who from 2010 until this week was held as a “forever prisoner,” an indefinite detainee considered too dangerous to release but never charged with a crime.

His attorney, Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, told the panel June 7 that Nasir wanted to return to Casablanca and work full time at a brother’s “very successful water treatment company... surrounded by a supportive and stable family.” She called him an “introspective, intelligent, and kindhearted man” who “famously, across the whole prison base, drafted his very own 2,000-word English to Arabic dictionary.”

The March intelligence profile said Nasir “has not expressed extremist views against U.S. citizens, but almost certainly resents the United States government and those he sees as responsible for his prolonged detainment.” He also has “defended fighting jihad in certain circumstances and supports Sharia law.”

The parole panel said in its decision that Nasir “presents some level of threat in light of his past activities, skills, and associations,” but said that can be mitigated in his circumstances of transfer.

Now it will be up to diplomats at the State Department to negotiate a repatriation deal with Morocco to include security arrangements that satisfy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. The board decision to clear Nasir for transfer was the second release decision issued by the Pentagon this week, and raised to 29 the number of cleared captives at the 76-detainee prison.

The board said in the case of Nasir, it considered his “renunciation of violence,” lack of contacts with “individuals involved in terrorism-related activities outside of Guantánamo” as well as “low number of disciplinary infractions while in detention.”

It was not known what Nasir told the board to get his indefinite detention status lifted. At his request, the Pentagon said, no transcript was released of his portion of the June 7 hearing.

Carol Rosenberg: 305-376-3179, @carolrosenberg