WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- The Guantanamo Bay detainee who wrote a best selling book about his experiences at the U.S.-run detention center is home for the first time in 14 years.
Mohamedou Ould Slahi is home in Mauritania after being held at the Gitmo facility for nearly a decade and a half without being charged or prosecuted for any crime.
Slahi had been held at the detention center since 2002 and subjected to brutal, severe and extensive torture which he recounted in "Guantanamo Diary," his 2014 memoir of his experiences there.
"I feel grateful and indebted to the people who have stood by me," Slahi said in a statement from the ACLU. "I have come to learn that goodness is transnational, transcultural and trans-ethnic. I'm thrilled to reunite with my family."
Slahi, 45, was born in Mauritania and attended college in Germany. In the early 1990s, Slahi fought with al-Qaeda as part of the U.S-supported anti-communist resistance in Afghanistan -- a "very different" group than the one that turned to terror attacks on the West later that decade, according to experts.
Slahi later returned to Germany for several years, where he worked as an engineer, and then went home to Mauritania in 2000. In 2001, Slahi was detained there and sent to an American prison in Jordan. Two years later, the United States detained him again, first taking him to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan and then to Guantanamo in 2002.
In "Guantanamo Diary," Slahi details the abuse he endured, which included beatings, isolation, sleep deprivation, frigid rooms, sexual molestation and shackling in stress positions, among other treatment. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld considered Slahi to be a "special project," and personally approved his interrogations and rough treatment, based on a suspected high-level role in al-Qaeda before his detention.
A federal judge determined in 2010 that Slahi's detention was illegal and ordered him to be released, a decision that did not come for another six years.
According to his lawyers, Slahi plans to write and work, establish a charity and focus on caring for and spending time with his family.
"We are thrilled that our client's nightmare is finally ending," Nancy Hollander, one of his attorneys, said on Monday. "After all these years, he wants nothing more than to be with his family and rebuild his life. We're so grateful to everyone who helped make this day a reality."