Abdellatif Nasser received a call from his lawyer last year saying he would be able to return home to Morocco in a matter of months under a diplomatic arrangement between the US and Morocco. The Moroccan government returned the paperwork eight days too late, past the December 20 deadline stipulated by then-President Barack Obama's administration, and is now back in the limbo stage of wondering what will happen next.
"We had hoped until the last moment that he might still be released," attorney Shelby Sullivan-Bennis told Military.com. "When it didn't happen, we were crushed. That eight-day foible has turned into a potential lifetime of detention," the lawyer said December 13.
Five other prisoners were similarly given the okay to go home by the Obama administration but have an uncertain future with Trump leading the US government.
Trump has not allowed any Gitmo prisoners to leave or be placed on a list of people cleared to go home or to a third country for resettlement, according to the Associated Press. Predecessor presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama transferred 197 and more than 500 prisoners out of US detention, respectively. Obama in particular campaigned on a promise to close down the prison entirely.
If the US administration persists with the policy of ceasing transfers, it would be "entirely unprecedented," according to Pardiss Kebriaei of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York.
A Pentagon spokesman said this week the government is "still considering whether or not to transfer detainees."
After Trump won the Nevada primary election, the candidate said, "we're going to keep, as you
know, Gitmo, we're keeping that open," and vowed during the campaign to "load it up with some bad dudes."
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a conservative radio host in July that he has visited Gitmo "a number of times as a senator, and it's just a very fine place for holding these kinds of dangerous criminals."
"There's plenty of space" to fill the prison with even more bodies, Sessions said, alluding to Trump's campaign promise. "We are well equipped for it. It's a perfect place for it. Eventually, this will be decided by the military rather than the Justice Department. But I see no legal problem whatsoever with doing that."