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Guantanamo Briton facing new charges in Morocco

A man from Britain who was released from Guantanamo Bay and sent to Morocco has been re-arrested by the Moroccan authorities after earlier terrorism-related charges brought on his arrival in the country were dropped.

Ahmed Errachidi, a Moroccan national, had lived in Britain for 17 years and worked as a chef in London restaurants. He spent more than five years at Guantanamo Bay before being freed without charge by the US. He was sent to Morocco on 24 April where he was arrested on arrival. He appeared before a judge on 2 May on suspicion of preparing and carrying out terrorist acts. The charges were later dropped and he was allowed to back home with his family. But he is now facing fresh charges.

Clive Stafford Smith, of the London-based human rights group Reprieve, which advises many Guantanamo detainees, called on the British Government to intervene on behalf of Mr Errachidi, who has the right to live in the UK but does not hold British nationality.

Mr Stafford Smith said: "Ahmed has suffered five unjustified years of imprisonment in Guantanamo’s inhuman conditions but has now been officially cleared by the Americans, confirming that he poses no security threat.

"There are absolutely no grounds for his arrest in Morocco."

He added: "This is purely a sop to the US - every person returned to Morocco has faced trial for something.

"What concerns me is that this is a guy who has been cleared by the US military. If you’re cleared by those US military commissions you are not guilty - there are few more biased courts in the world."

Mr Errachidi is on bail and may face trial as early as the beginning of July.

He has a wife and two young sons living in Morocco.

Relatives say he suffers from bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, and needs to take medication regularly.

According to Reprieve, he was arrested in Pakistan after travelling there in2001 on a business venture to fund a heart operation for his younger son, Imran.

While there, Ahmed Errachidi was affected by television footage of the US invasion of neighboring Afghanistan and went there to try to help refugees from bombing raids, a decision his lawyers say reflected his erratic judgment caused by his illness.

Once in Afghanistan, he soon realized there was nothing he could do and it was dangerous to stay.

He was detained after crossing back into Pakistan.

Pakistani officials then "sold Ahmed Errachidi to the US military fora bounty that was negotiated while he stood by in shackles and ahood," according to Reprieve.

Report in The Times