London – CAGE welcomes the release of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian prisoner who was in US military custody at Guantanamo Bay – without charge or trial and under torture – since 2002.
Slahi was reunited with his family in Mauritania. However, after 14 years of waiting, Slahi’s mother was not there to greet him: she passed away waiting in vain for her son’s return.
Slahi became a best-selling author after his book, Guantanamo Diary, was published in Britain last year. The book – an extraordinarily intelligent, insightful, shocking and even humorous memoir of his incarceration – was released eleven years before the author was. It told of how Slahi was beaten, subjected to sleep deprivation, loud music and freezing temperatures – but also spoke of the kindness of some guards.
The book had readings in the British parliament by notable actors and received wide acclaim. The famous novelist John Le Carre described Slahi’s ordeal in the book as “a vision of hell, beyond Orwell, beyond Kafka…”
Slahi was the last of the Mauritanian prisoners to be freed. Last year, Ahmed Ould Abdel Aziz was released around the same time as British resident, Shaker Aamer.
CAGE outreach director Moazzam Begg, said:
“The campaign to set Slahi free has been a long arduous one and I know there will be a sense of achievement by all those who fought so hard for his release – including those in Britain who played an important role, alongside Slahi’s own family members.”
“Slahi on the other hand, despite being renditioned to three countries, falsely imprisoned and tortured for so long, neither holds any animosity nor seeks revenge. He believes his reward is with Allah and this was all part of his fate and test. He’s better than his tormentors. That is something they will have to live with.”
“It is hard to imagine any other prison facility that has been spoken about so negatively and unanimously condemned throughout the world than the US facility at Guantanamo Bay. And yet, it remains open, even after Slahi’s release, still with sixty prisoners too many.”
(Image courtesy of ICRC)
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)