(CNN)A Moroccan man held in Guantánamo Bay for nearly 20 years has been transferred from the US detention facility to his native country of Morocco, the Department of Defense announced Monday, in what is believed to be the first transfer of a detainee in the Biden administration.
A review board in 2016 “determined that law of war detention of Abdul Latif Nasir no longer remained necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the national security of the United States” and recommended that Nasir be repatriated to his home country. The steps to repatriate him began in the Obama administration but stalled in the Trump administration.There are 39 detainees remaining in Guantánamo Bay.”The United States commends the Kingdom of Morocco for its long-time partnership in securing both countries’ national security interests. The United States is also extremely grateful for the Kingdom’s willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility,” the statement said.In February, the Biden administration said it intends to close the Guantánamo Bay detention facility, which was opened in 2002.Read MoreThe facility was meant to be a place where suspects in the war on terror could be interrogated. But prisoners have been indefinitely detained, many without charges or trial and subjected to reported abuse. As the US war on terror dragged on, the detention facility became an international symbol of US rights abuses in the post-9/11 era.Former President Barack Obama made a campaign promise in 2008 to close the facility by the end of his administration, which was never realized. Former President Donald Trump signed an executive order in 2018 to keep the facility open.