Reprieve secures major victory in release of Guantánamo Bay detainee

As a result of efforts by legal advocacy group and SRT grantee Reprieve, Abdul Latif Nasser was transferred from the Guantánamo Bay facility on July 18 after nearly two decades of detention without charge or trial. He arrived home to Casablanca, Morocco just in time for Eid al-Adha, the Muslim holiday known as the Feast of Sacrifice.

Abdul Latif was seized by the Northern Alliance in December 2001 before being sold to American forces for a bounty. In May 2002, he was transferred to the Guantánamo Bay detention facility under suspicion of being an “enemy combatant”. For the first five years in which he was detained, Abdul Latif was denied access to legal advice and representation.

Reprieve, which took on Abdul Latif’s case in 2007, contended that not only had the U.S. government never charged him with a crime, Abdul Latif had also been subjected to torture, including solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, bright lights on at all times, and regular beatings. Ultimately, a U.S. government panel of six U.S. intelligence agencies unanimously cleared Abdul Latif for release in 2016, but due to the Trump administration’s policy of largely prohibiting transfers, he languished in prison for an additional five years until his release this month.

“This transfer cannot make up for the two decades of his life that Abdul Latif has lost, held prisoner without charge, but we welcome his return to Moroccan soil at long last,” shared Katie Taylor, Deputy Director of Reprieve. “Other transfers of prisoners cleared for release must follow without delay.”

Not only has Reprieve fought for the freedom of over 70 Guantánamo detainees, but they also ensure that their clients are able to transition into new lives after years of detention without trial and torture. As a newly released detainee, Abdul Latif is able to participate in Reprieve’s groundbreaking Life after Guantánamo program. Launched in 2009, Life after Guantánamo ensures that former detainees have are supported in accessing torture rehabilitation services, specialized medical care, housing, secure legal status, and the labour market/vocational training. After release, former detainees are often forced to resettle in new countries, separated from their families and valuable social support networks. Reprieve leverages the close relationships it builds with its clients and partners on the ground to ensure the men are confident as they begin to rebuild their lives.

Abdul Latif is the first Guantánamo detainee released under the Biden administration. After visiting the facility in June, Reprieve attorney Mark Maher hopes that Abdul Latif’s release will be the first step towards delivering justice for the prison’s 39 remaining detainees.

Return to grantee stories