Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Long Nightmare at Guantánamo Is Finally Coming to an End

After 14 long years languishing at Guantánamo without charge or trial, Mohamedou Slahi has finally been cleared for release.

Today the Periodic Review Board — a panel of national security, intelligence, and other officials — made that decision after determining that Slahi poses no significant threat to the United States. The government of his native Mauritania has said that it would welcome him home.

Slahi is the author of the best-selling memoir “Guantánamo Diary,” and he appeared before the Periodic Review Board on June 2. We provided the PRB with a slew of evidence and support for Mohamedou’s release. We especially appreciate the letter of support from a former U.S. military guard at Guantánamo who was assigned to Slahi for 10 months, and another support letter from former chief prosecutor for the Guantánamo military commissions, Col. Morris Davis.

A campaign to free Slahi spearheaded by the ACLU has gathered major support both in the U.S. and abroad. The ACLU and Change.org have collected more than 100,000 signatures calling for his release. High-profile supporters of the petition include Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Roger Waters. In the U.K., several members of Parliament signed a letter urging the British government to call on the U.S. to release Slahi.

Slahi was born in Mauritania in 1970 and won a scholarship to attend college in Germany. In the early 1990s, he fought with al-Qaeda when it was part of the Afghan anti-communist resistance supported by the U.S. The federal district court judge who reviewed all the evidence in Slahi’s habeas corpus case noted that the group then was very different from the one that later came into existence.

Slahi worked in Germany for several years as an engineer and returned to Mauritania in 2000. The following year, at the behest of the U.S., he was detained by Mauritanian authorities and rendered to a prison in Jordan. Later he was rendered again, first to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan and finally, in August 2002, to the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay, where he was subjected to severe torture.

Slahi was one of two so-called “Special Projects” whose brutal treatment then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld personally approved. The abuse included beatings, extreme isolation, sleep deprivation, sexual molestation, frigid rooms, shackling in stress positions, and threats against both Slahi and his mother. In Slahi’s habeas challenge, the federal judge determined Slahi’s detention was unlawful and ordered him released in 2010. The U.S. government successfully appealed that decision, and the habeas case is still pending.

Slahi’s book, the first and only memoir by a still-imprisoned Guantánamo detainee, was published in January 2015 — with numerous redactions — from a 466-page handwritten manuscript. It spent several weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list and has since been translated into multiple languages for publication in more than 25 countries.

We are thrilled for Slahi and his family, but we know there is still more work to do. The new chapter in Slahi’s life won’t start until the Pentagon actually transfers him, and it should begin that process immediately. There are still dozens of other men trapped in the misery that is indefinite detention at Guantánamo. Time is running out for President Obama to fulfill his promise to close Guantánamo and prevent its injustice from tarnishing his legacy.

Add a comment (11)
Read the Terms of Use

Anonymous

And Eric's still dead along with thousands of others, and you guys have lied in the worst way possible about this jackal not being involved because he WAS involved and even Lawfare.com admitted it.

From a family member of a REAL Sep-11 victim

Anonymous

First, I'm very sorry for your loss. None of us know the whole truth without a fair and "confrontational" trial in front of an independent judge or jury - to try or "test" the facts, evidence and witness testimony. For some reason the U.S. government chose not to test the facts, evidence and witness testimony.

In 2016 we now know that more than 80% of Guantanamo detainees were NOT captured on any battlefield and were NOT firing at Coalition troops. The U.S. government instead offered huge bounties to poor tribal chieftains, so they simply SOLD people they didn't like into slavery at Guantanamo. The motive for most Gitmo prisoners being imprisoned was purely for money, nothing else.

The Bush Administration also created a "Bush/Republican's Enemies List" and intentionally placed innocent Americans on those lists in retaliation for legal 1st Amendment exercises dating as far back as the 1980's. I witnessed this first hand as a plaintiff in federal court who had his life destroyed for non-crimes and non-wrongdoing. I personally was destroyed, defamed and lost over $500,000 for legal Freedom of Speech exercises and was granted legal standing by a federal judge (aka: CoinTelPro).

Rule of Thumb: If the U.S. government has a legitimate case, with legitimate evidence, they take that suspect to court. Guantanamo was maybe the biggest fraud ever created by this nation, that's why they never charged anyone or indicted them.

Again, very sorry for your loss but punishing the wrong people is not the solution. A fair and confrontational trial in front of a judge or jury is how we get to the truth - that process never happened. There appears to be sufficient evidence to indict Donald Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft and others for their war crimes gain strength people like me and most of those at Guantanamo. If the LawFare article were true, why didn't they confront the suspect in front of a judge or jury?

Mike Millspaugh

If your going to lie, at least do it by your real name instead of hiding.

William-Michael...

Can he make Claims against the US Government for damages? Would the ACLU stand by him on this? I believe one of Obama's last Acts as president, Independent of whom gets elected, will release the remaining prisonors.

Ellen Steury

Thank goodness! At last. Thank you to the ACLU lawyers and Shahi's pro bono counsel for sticking with him to the end. You do so much to give us reason to keep the faith.

Anonymous

Eric's treatment included choking on smoke, being burned to death and then having his earthly remains obliterated (or still unidentified) along with 1,770 other people, and this guy recruited two of the people who did it, but nobody will ever read the link because nobody online ever fuckin' reads a goddam thing once they've made up their mind to believe something untrue. Showing the link is like banging your head against a wall in terms of making anyone believe the damn truth. This guy's cousin was fuckin' one of Osama bin Laden's spiritual advisors too.
I don't care about his torture at all anymore because he's NOT innocent or as pure as the driven snow the way YOU "people" continuously make him sound and you KNOW he's not. And you've ALWAYS known he's not innocent because you're not stupid.

I'm going to show the link anyway, bc even if nobody reads, it still proves without doubt that he's not fuckin' innocent, and it DOESN'T mention coerced statements. Even with no coerced evidence at all he's gd guilty as the blackest sin.

lawfareblog.com/slates-gtmo-memoir-and-murky-story-mohamedou-ould-slahi

Anonymous

My condolences on your loss but the problem is his torture PREVENTED him from being prosecuted because torture is inadmissible in court. If a person can't be tried, they have to be released. That's the law. Blame the CIA for ruining any chance of Slahi being prosecuted by using torture.

Anonymous

thank you for your work may the lord bless you in the work of protecting everyone

Anonymous

I think this article is a gd betrayal and tarnishes YOUR "legacy."
To sit by and pretend nothing was done to us is a betrayal so deep it goes beyond the Ninth Circle of Dante's hell.

from a family member of the REAL victims of September 11

Anonymous

Tell this story to anyone killed by a drone strike ACLU !

Pages

Sign Up for Breaking News