The United States has transferred five Guantanamo Bay prisoners to Europe as part of efforts to empty and close the controversial U.S. military detention center in Cuba, officials said Thursday. Three Yemeni prisoners were sent to Georgia, while a fourth Yemeni and a Tunisian were transferred to Slovakia, Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Myles Caggins said. The men, aged 31 to 48, arrived by plane Thursday evening. They had been held at the prison facility for more than a decade without charge or trial.
The United States coordinated with the government of Slovakia to ensure these transfers took place consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures.
Statement from the Pentagon
The five men had been cleared for release by U.S. president Barack Obama’s administration. Most of the prisoners still languishing at the U.S. naval base are from Yemen. Of the 84 detainees from that country, 54 have been cleared for release. In early November, a military official told AFP that about 15 detainees would be transferred over the winter. Human Rights First said the transfer of prisoners signalled significant progress but stressed inmates need to be released at a quicker pace.
The administration needs to move much more quickly to transfer detainees who have been unanimously cleared.
Raha Wala of Human Rights First