Why is Younous Chekkouri still not free after being released from Guantánamo Bay?
Younous Chekkouri, was released from Guantánamo last week after 14 years of detention and torture. He was transferred to his native Morocco, but his suffering is not over. He was detained on arrival and is now facing utterly baseless charges of ‘attempts to disrupt the security of the country’.
A judge will decide in two weeks whether to formally charge him. Meanwhile he has been placed in ‘provisional detention’ in Salé. Our legal team continues to fight for his freedom.
Younous spent 14 years in US detention, despite being unanimously cleared for release in 2009 by the six US government security and intelligence agencies – including the CIA, FBI, and Departments of State and Defense. They 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.
Now that he has been released from Guantánamo, Younous’s only concern is to be reunited with his family and to be allowed to start rebuilding his life. There is no reason for the Moroccan authorities to prolong Younous’ detention after all he has suffered over 14 years.
Hooded and shackled – Younous left Guantánamo in the same way he arrived
Despite being cleared and then released, Younous was not allowed to leave Guantánamo as a free man. He was blindfolded, forced to wear ear-defenders, and had his arms shackled to his legs during the ten hour flight to Morocco.
He described how the flight replicated the total sight and sound deprivation he experienced when he was first rendered to Guantanamo.
Younous was tortured and brutally mistreated for years during his Guantánamo ordeal. As if this weren’t enough for a man the US government would later declare should never have been imprisoned in the first place, he then spent the flight back to Morocco blindfolded and with his arms shackled to his legs. We are very concerned for Younous’s health during his ongoing detention in Morocco and urge the authorities to release him as soon as possible.
Cori Crider, attorney for Younous and Reprieve’s strategic director