Transfer of Guantanamo Detainees ‘Welcome News’

On August 29, the Obama administration announced it transferred Nabil Said Hadjarab and Mutia Sadiq Ahmad Sayyab from the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Algeria.  Both men were initially cleared for transfer in 2007 after thorough review by several executive branch agencies.  In a statement to the media, TCP president Virginia Sloan welcomed the news, saying she hoped it was a prologue to swiftly transferring the remaining 84 detainees that have also been previously cleared.

Sloan said, “We see this step this as evidence that the president is serious about carrying out his renewed commitment to finally close the prison at Guantanamo.  Toward that end, the administration must use the full extent of its authority to continue to move detainees out, and Congress must do its part by lifting onerous restrictions that needlessly complicate such transfers.”  President Obama renewed an earlier pledge to work towards closing Guantanamo in a speech at the National Defense University in May.

Sloan also said it was critical that all transfers of detainees out of Guantanamo be consistent with the United States treaty obligations not to send any person to another country where there are substantial grounds to believe that he or she would be in danger of torture.

In a comprehensive report released in April, The Constitution Project’s independent, blue-ribbon Task Force on Detainee Treatment recommended closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.  The Task Force also called for establishment of a robust process to ensure that, when transferring detainees abroad, the U.S. does not violate its legal obligations under the Convention Against Torture.

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