National Security

Pentagon Releases 3 Gitmo Detainees To Italy, Serbia

REUTERS/Bob Strong

Dan Chaison Reporter
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The number of detainees remaining at the Guantanamo Bay prison facility is down to 76 after officials released Fayiz Ahmad Yahia Suleiman on Sunday, followed by Muhammadi Davlatov and Mansur Ahmad Saad al-Dayfi on Monday.

Suleiman, who is from Yemen, was flown to Italy where he will resettle after 14 years in detention.

A statement by the Department of Defense said that after officials conducted a comprehensive interagency review, “Suleiman was unanimously approved for transfer by the six departments and agencies comprising the task force.”

The Pentagon also thanked Italy for its willingness to accept him.

Releasing Yemeni prisoners like Suleiman has been a challenge for the Obama administration. The current rules present a double-edged sword; the U.S. does not release detainees onto American soil, but it also doesn’t repatriate them to Yemen.

The moratorium on relocating prisoners to the war-torn country came after al-Qaeda in Yemen dispatched the 2009 Christmas Day underwear bomber to detonate an explosive on a flight heading for Detroit. (RELATED: The Obama Administration Unofficially Halts All Guantanamo Transfers To Yemen).

Mansur Ahmad Saad al-Dayfi is also from Yemen and was flown to Serbia along with Muhammadi Davlatov, who is from Tajikistan.

Finding third party countries to accept those cleared for release is the only way to move prisoners who can’t go back to their home country.

“Serbia joins 30 other countries, which since 2009, have extended resettlement opportunities to over 100 detainees,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement released Monday morning.

The Obama administration’s expedited effort to transfer detainees dovetails a growing concern that some may disappear and return to the battlefield.

A profile on al-Dayfi released last year states that he had “expressed support for terrorism and hostility toward the US-most prominently during an Administrative Review Board hearing in late 2006, when he said that he was happy to be an enemy of the US and that he posed a threat to US interests. However, his behavior has improved since late 2012, and since early 2013 be has expressed nonextremist goals for his life after detention.”

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