Thursday, August 20, 2009
Six Guantanamo detainees to be transferred this month
At least six inmates being held at Guantanamo Bay prison will be sent to other countries this month, the U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday, according to the Reuters international news service. The scheduled releases, assuming they proceed as planned, are in addition to the 11 Guantanamo inmates already sent overseas under the new administration of Barack Obama. Obama pledged to close the prison, on the U.S. naval base on the island of Cuba, by early next year during the 2008 election campaign. The prison, set up by the previous administration of George W. Bush to hold terror suspects captured overseas, has been controversial because of alleged mistreatment of detainees and because many prisoners have been held for years without charges. One of the suspects, an Afghani who was as young as 14 when detained on suspicion of throwing a hand grenade that injured two U.S. soldiers and a translator in 2002, could be returned to Afghanistan by Friday, Reuters said. A federal judge in Washington ordered his release last month unless he was formally charged, and U.S. prosecutors have discussed charging him in civilian court. All of the six inmates who release is being contemplated were either ordered released by federal judges or were cleared by the administration's detainee review process, Reuters said. Two detainees will be sent to Portugal and two to Ireland, the news service said, citing a report in the Miami Herald newspaper. The Washington Post newspaper also reported that 10 European countries have agreed to take detainees, including England and France, Reuters said. There still are more than 220 suspects being held at Guantanamo Bay, Reuters said.