I am an attorney and partner in the firm of Freedman Boyd Hollander Goldberg Urias
& Ward P.A. in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For the past 40 years I have devoted
my practice to the representation of those accused of crime. Beginning in 2005, I
began representing Mohamedou Ould Slahi. Mr. Slahi, a native of Mauritania, was
held at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention camp as an alleged enemy combatant
for 14 years without ever being charged with any crime. In 2009, Judge Robertson
of the United States Court in Washington D.C. found that the government did not
have evidence sufficient to hold Mr. Slahi and ordered him released. But release did
not come because the government appealed.
A few years later President Obama created the Periodic Review Board (PRB) to
review the files of the prisoners held in Guantanamo. On Mr. Slahi’s behalf, I began
to gather the necessary support for his release. In my efforts to free Mr. Slahi, I found
an unexpected ally. Colonel Morris “Moe” Davis, the former Chief Prosecutor at
Guantanamo Bay, came forward to write a letter to the PRB in May, 2016 in support
of Mr. Slahi. In the letter, Col. Morris wrote that there was no evidence to charge
Mr. Slahi with a crime other than that obtained through torture – which he deemed
unreliable and unacceptable — and we needed to ask if we would condone continued
detention if he were an American citizen.
Mr. Slahi was finally released on Oct. 17, 2016. I believe the letter from Col. Davis
played an integral role in that release. Col. Davis had no obligation to write that
letter. The fact that he did so I believe speaks to his character. That is the kind of
character we need in Washington today.