On Tuesday evening, the Department of Defense (DOD) announced that five more detainees have been transferred safe and sound out of Guantanamo Bay to Kazakhstan.
The U.S. government worked closely with the government of Kazakhstan to facilitate the resettlement process in a humane manner after the Guantanamo Review Task Force determined that the detainees didn’t post a significant security risk. Detainees are normally prohibited from leaving their new host country for at least two years, and the government of Kazakhstan has agreed to monitor some of their movements. Originally captured by the Pakistani army, the five men had been held for over a decade.
Of the five released, three were Yemenis and two were Tunisians. One Yemeni prisoner had apparently fought for al-Qaida, and the two others were thought to be members. One of the Tunisians, on the other hand, was much more involved. A leaked military document stated that Adel al-Hakeemy was a military advisor to Osama bin Laden.
During their stay, none was charged with a crime.
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“As directed by the president’s Jan. 22, 2009 executive order, the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force conducted a comprehensive review of this case,” the DOD said in the statement. “As a result of that review…these men were unanimously approved for transfer by the six departments and agencies comprising the task force.”
However, the task force has a very high failure rate, as 17 percent of the detainees released so far have verifiably engaged in terrorist activities. The September report from the director of national intelligence also suspected that an additional 12 percent have busied themselves with insurgency activities.
Now, Guantanamo Bay holds only 127 detainees, most of them from Yemen. With the year at end, President Barack Obama can rest easy, knowing that he’s one step closer to his goal as set out in a 2009 executive order to clear out the prison and shut it down.
Exactly 28 detainees were removed from Gitmo in 2014 and sent around the world. Afghanistan most recently received 6 prisoners and Uruguay accepted another 4. The Obama administration is looking to significantly boost the rate of release in 2015 and is currently in dialogue with a number of potential host countries.
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