The Department of Defense released four Guantanamo Bay detainees in the last 24 hours, with two heading to Serbia and another to Italy.
The Pentagon announced the transfer of Fayiz Ahmad Yahia Suleyman to Italy Sunday, and the releases of Muhammadi Davlataov and Mansur Ahmad Saad al-Dayfi to Serbia Monday. The transfers now bring the total number of inmates housed in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility to 76.
Suleyman is a seasoned Saudi Arabian terrorist who fought against U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan as a member of Osama bin Laden’s 55th Arab brigade. Prior to fighting in Afghanistan, Suleyman reportedly fought in the so-called “Bosnian Jihad” in the early 1990s. Bosnia and Herzegovina is located just across the Adriatic sea from Italy. Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) assessed Suleyman as a “high risk” threat to the U.S. in 2008.
Davlataov, also known as Umar Abdulayev, was the last Tajik detainee and perhaps one of stranger cases seen at Guantanamo. Davlataov was previously approved for release by the Bush administration, but refused to return to Tajikistan out of fear, preferring to spend his life in the detention center in Cuba. This earned him the title of “forever prisoner.” His lawyer said Davlataov’s reasoning was two-fold: He did not want to return home with a stigma of spending time in the facility, and was also concerned his family would be on the wrong side of the country’s civil war.
Al-Dayfi, also known as Abdul Rahman Ahmed, was a self-proclaimed al-Qaida commander from Yemen who was responsible for evacuating forces during conflicts between U.S.-led forces and the 55th Arab Brigade in Afghanistan.
The Obama administration has been in a mad-dash to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility before the president’s term runs out in January. Pentagon special envoy for Guantanamo Closure Paul Lewis said the facility “weakens our national security by damaging our relationships with key allies and partners, draining resources and providing violent extremists with a propaganda tool.”
Administration officials presented a plan to close the facility to Congress in February, though the vague nature of the plan has received heavy criticism from various members.
Both the Sunday and Monday announcements thanked Italy and Serbia for their “humanitarian” gestures, but offered no details as to what precautions would be taken to ensure the detainees would resort to terrorism once again.
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