On Monday, the State Department spokesman, Ned Price, praised the Moroccan government for taking custody of Mr. Nasser and used the opportunity to urge other countries — which he did not name — to repatriate their citizens who were captured in Syria or Iraq in the conflict against the Islamic State. Many European countries have hesitated to take responsibility for handling their nationals, leaving them in the hands of Kurdish fighters.
“Morocco’s leadership in facilitating Nasser’s repatriation, alongside its past willingness to return its foreign terrorist fighters from northeast Syria, should encourage other nations to repatriate their citizens who have traveled to fight for terrorist organizations abroad,” Mr. Price said.
The Biden administration has reinvigorated a parole-like process that was established in the Obama years to consider each Guantánamo detainee who was not charged with crimes, to decide whether to recommend turning him over to the custody of another country. The interagency Periodic Review Board has announced five decisions since Mr. Biden took office, and all of those detainees were approved for transfers — including the oldest man held at Guantánamo, a 73-year-old Pakistani with heart disease and other geriatric ailments.
The panel has representatives from six national security agencies, including the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Pentagon’s Joint Staff and the Department of Homeland Security, but a recommendation for transfers does not assure release. The State Department must still come up with a transfer deal, and the defense secretary must personally approve it and provide notice to Congress.
The board also held a hearing on May 18 on whether to recommend the transfer of the Saudi prisoner who was tortured at Guantánamo, Mr. Qahtani, but has not announced a decision.
He has a separate lawsuit pending in federal court over whether his psychiatric condition, acute schizophrenia, justifies repatriating him to medical care in Saudi Arabia because he cannot receive adequate care at the naval base. As part of that lawsuit, his lawyers obtained a court order to have a panel of doctors, including two non-American ones, examine him.
The Justice Department during the Trump administration had opposed that lawsuit, and days before Mr. Trump left office his Army secretary changed a regulation to try to disqualify all Guantánamo prisoners, notably Mr. Qahtani, from the possibility of a court-ordered independent examination by outside doctors.
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.