We got to know Mohamedou Slahi through his persistence, and his writing. He is one of the few men held in Guantanamo who turned himself in to the U.S. in 2002 for questioning, knowing that he was not in support of al-Qaeda. This led to a nightmare of more than 14 years. With his departure, there are now 60 men still held, 20 of which are “cleared” for release.
Andy Worthington writes that “torture victim and best-selling author Mohamedou Ould Slahi is released from #Guantanamo, to rejoin his family in Mauritania! Slahi survived a specific torture program, approved by Donald Rumsfeld and implemented on the mistaken basis that he was involved with al-Qaeda….His sweet revenge on those who tortured him was to write a memoir that, after a long struggle, was eventually published, in heavily redacted form, in January 2015, as Guantánamo Diary. Translated into numerous languages, for publication in over two dozen countries, it has become an international bestseller, and although the US administration never mentioned it, the book’s success, and its powerful revelations about the depravity of the US’s post-9/11 torture program, must have been a profound embarrassment.”
Larry Siems, who edited Guantanamo Diary, spoke last month at the Brooklyn Book Fair about Mohamedou’s further prison writings. He wrote at least one work of fiction, but got in trouble for that work also, because the military censors at Guantanamo couldn’t figure out what to do with it.