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Morocco violating State Department assurances for former Guantanamo prisoner: lawyer

[JURIST] A lawyer for former Guantanamo detainee Younous Chekkouri said [press release] Thursday that the Moroccan government is not upholding the diplomatic assurances it provided to the US State Department [official website] regarding the release of his client, namely that it would not prosecute Chekkouri and would release him within 72 hours. Chekkouri was released [JURIST report] to Morocco in September after 13 years in the Guantanamo Bay prison. Cori Crider, an international human rights lawyer with Reprieve [advocacy website], provided an update [press release] upon his client's arrival in Morocco and said Chekkouri was, "facing utterly baseless charges of "attempts to disrupt the security of the country." Chekkouri has been placed in "provisional detention" in Salé while he awaits a judge's decision on the charges.

The Guantanamo Bay prison [JURIST backgrounder] was set up in 2002 by the Bush administration as a facility to hold the most dangerous war criminals. At its peak in 2003, the prison had a population of 684 inmates. When US President Obama took office in 2008, one of his first directives was to close the facility, but he has faced considerable opposition in achieving that goal. On July 1, US Secretary of State John Kerry appointed [JURIST report] Lee Wolowsky to effectuate the closure of Guantanamo Bay. Also in October former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Djamel Ameziane filed a petition [JURIST report] with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights [official website] seeking reparations from the US government for human rights violations he alleges that he endured while in custody. In September the Obama administration notified Congress [JURIST report] of its plan to release Guantanamo Bay inmate Shaker Aamer to the UK. Aamer, who was captured in Afghanistan in 2001, is the final British resident held in the US military prison.

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