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A Former Guantánamo Prisoner’s New Life

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On the 15th night of Ramadan in a suburb of Belize City, Majid Khan and his family of four sat down for a traditional iftar meal to break the daylight hours fast. There was a leg of a lamb that Majid, a former Guantánamo detainee, had slaughtered himself, sweets brought by a sister in Maryland, dates from Saudi Arabia.

The mood was a bit boisterous, but not enough to disrupt the sleep of baby Hamza, who was born two weeks earlier at a hospital in the Central American city. The talk was small, about whether the biryani dish was too spicy and how the lamb was perfectly roasted.

These are mundane matters, made more meaningful because Majid Khan, a former courier for Al Qaeda, was celebrating with his wife Rabia and daughter Manaal in their first home together, in Belize, their new adoptive homeland.

For two decades, this family meal was not possible. After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Khan joined Al Qaeda, agreed to become a suicide bomber and delivered $50,000 that would be used in a deadly hotel bombing in Indonesia. For his crimes, he was held prisoner by the United States, tortured by the C.I.A. and then imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay. He pleaded guilty and became a government cooperator — and, all that time, his wife waited for him in Pakistan.

“I was waiting for 20 years for him,” Rabia Khan said with a sigh of contentment. “Everyone said, ‘You are brave. You are strong.’” The circumstances required it. “Now I say to Majid, ‘It’s all on you, not on me.’”

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