Younous Chekkouri finally free
Younous Chekkouri was doing charity work in Afghanistan and starting a business when he was rounded up and sold to US forces for a bounty. He was then taken to Guantánamo Bay and held without charge for 14 years before finally being released to his native Morocco in September 2015.
But his ordeal didn’t end there. He was held for almost 5 months in a Moroccan jail – but yesterday he was finally freed.
“I want to thank everyone who has helped me through these hard times, my lawyers, everyone in the United States and Europe and Morocco who has stood by me and been my friend the whole time. I cannot believe I am free and will see my family soon. I am so happy. Thank you.”
Now, we hope that he will be reunited with Abla and have the chance to rebuild his life after years of detention and abuse.
Younous was returned to his native Morocco in September 2015 after 14 years at Guantánamo, where he had been held without charge or trial and cleared for release since 2009. He was immediately imprisoned on arrival in Morocco, despite US government assurances that he would not be charged or detained for longer than 72 hours. He remained imprisoned for nearly five months, during which we brought legal action in US federal court over the American government’s failure to keep its promises towards him.
In 2010, during US legal proceedings brought by Younous’s Reprieve lawyers, the US government admitted that their central allegation against him – believed to be the reason for his detention in Morocco – was based on unreliable information extracted primarily through torture. In October of last year, the US Department of Justice released a letter publicly conceding this point.
“It has been a years-long struggle to get Younous out to his family, but his new life starts today. He is one of the kindest, gentlest souls I had the privilege to represent in my years going to Guantánamo, and I am so pleased he will spend tonight with his family. Reprieve looks forward to his being reunited with his beloved wife and Morocco closing this case, as the United States did long ago.”
Cori Crider, Reprieve attorney for Younous