The resettlement of Majid Khan from Guantanamo Bay prison to Belize, marks the first time a “high intelligence value” prisoner has been freed. The following article was published in the March-April 2023 issue of NewsNotes.
On February 2, Majid Khan was transferred from Guantánamo Bay to Belize. This followed Mr. Khan finishing a military commission sentence, pursuant to a plea and cooperation agreement with U.S. authorities. Mr. Khan was sent from secret CIA detention, during which time he was tortured, to Guantánamo in September 2006.
Susan Gunn, Director of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, said in a press statement by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture,
We celebrate the release of Majid Shoukat Khan and pray that he and his family can live, grow, and flourish in Belize. We commend the government of Belize for welcoming Mr. Khan and his family, demonstrating to the world that we each can contribute to building peace. We especially wish to thank President Biden for his faithfulness to his pledge to end indefinite detention at Guantanamo Bay prison. To work for the resettlement of even one prisoner requires imagination and commitment – to justice, peace, and reconciliation. President Biden has demonstrated that it can be done. We look forward to celebrating the resettlement of more prisoners from Guantanamo soon.
In a statement released via his legal team, Mr. Khan said, “I have been given a second chance in life and I intend to make the most of it. I deeply regret the things that I did many years ago, and I have taken responsibility and tried to make up for them. I continue to ask for forgiveness from God and those I have hurt. I am truly sorry. The world has changed a lot in twenty years, and I have changed a lot as well. I promise all of you, especially the people of Belize that I will be a productive, law-abiding member of society. Thank you for believing in me, and I will not let you down. My actions will speak louder than my words.”
Rev. Ron Stief, Executive Director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, said, “Mr. Khan’s transfer to Belize is an important step towards closing the Guantánamo prison. Of the thirty-four Muslim men who are still held at Guantánamo, twenty have been cleared for transfer through review processes. We applaud the work of the U.S. government and other countries in repatriating or resettling the men cleared for transfer from the prison.”
Photo of the January 11, 2023 Rally to Close Guantanamo in front of the White House