Mahfoud Yahdih Ould Salahi was born in Mauritania, the youngest of 12 siblings. He was 19 years old when his older brother Mohamedou (who goes by the last name of Slahi) went missing. One year later, while living in Germany, Mahfoud picked up a copy of Der Spiegel and read that his brother was detained at the Guantanamo Bay detention center.
Mahfoud has lived in Germany as a software engineer for more than a decade, and has become a German citizen. After learning of his brother’s detention, Mahfoud worked on helping to get his brother released.
In June 2015, Mahfoud attempted to come the United States to attend several events to raise awareness about Mohamedou’s situation. However, Mahfoud was detained at JFK International Airport and eventually denied entry into the United States.
In 2015, Mohamedou published Guantanamo Diary, the first and only memoir by a still-imprisoned Guantanamo detainee. In 2016, the Periodic Review Board, which reviews the status of all detainees, approved Mohamedou’s release, and Mohamedou was transferred to Mauritania in October 2016. Mahfoud flew to Mauritania to visit with his brother when he arrived home.