Guantánamo’s most famous prisoner, Mohamedou Slahi, has been released after spending more than 14 years in the notorious detention center. Slahi, author of the 2015 bestselling book “Guantánamo Diary,” was returned to his native Mauritania on October 17.
Slahi, 45, was detained in Mauritania at the behest of the United States in 2001, and transferred to Guantánamo Bay in 2002. He had fought with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in the early 1990s when the group was part of the anti-communist forces supported by the US government. He subsequently broke ties with the group, left Afghanistan, and worked for several years as an engineer in Germany, returning to Mauritania in 2001, according to the ACLU.
During the period covering the over-14 years of his detention, Slahi was never charged with any crime. He was accused of helping recruit terrorists for the 9/11 attacks and of plotting an attack on the Los Angeles airport, allegations for which his lawyers say there is scant evidence. Indeed, a federal judge ruled in 2010 that "there was no basis for the government’s contention that Mr. Slahi was part of al-Qaeda and thus ruled that he could not be detained indefinitely," an ACLU statement in 2015 explained. Slahi was finally cleared for release in July.