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U.S. sends 12 Gitmo detainees to home nations

WASHINGTON — The United States has transferred a dozen Guantanamo detainees to Afghanistan, Yemen and the Somaliland region as the Obama administration continues to move captives out of the facility in Cuba in preparation for its closure.

The Justice Department said Sunday that a task force reviewed each case. Officials considered the potential threat and the government's likelihood of success in court challenges to the detentions.

Over the weekend, four Afghan detainees were transferred to their home country. Two Somali detainees were transferred to authorities in Somaliland, the semiautonomous northern region of Somalia. Six Yemeni detainees also were sent home.

The Justice Department said that since 2002, more than 560 detainees have left the military prison in Cuba and 198 remain.

It identified those sent home as:

• Afghans Abdul Hafiz, Sharifullah, Mohamed Rahim and Mohammed Hashim.

• Somali detainees Mohammed Soliman Barre and Ismael Arale.

• Yemenis Jamal Muhammad Alawi Mari, Farouq Ali Ahmed, Ayman Saeed Abdullah Batarfi, Muhammaed Yasir Ahmed Taher, Fayad Yahya Ahmed al Rami and Riyad Atiq Ali Abdu al Haf.

Yemen's embassy spokesman, Mohammed Albasha, said his embassy "hails the release and transfer of six of its citizens. … Yemen will continue its diplomatic dialogue with the United States government to repatriate the remaining Yemeni detainees."

The administration has announced that five Guantanamo detainees will be tried in a New York federal court and more are likely to be tried in this country.

Up to 100 will be sent to a nearly empty prison in Thomson, Ill.

U.S. sends 12 Gitmo detainees to home nations 12/20/09 [Last modified: Sunday, December 20, 2009 10:02pm]
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