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US transfers three Algerian Guantanamo detainees to Bosnia

[JURIST] The US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] on Tuesday announced [press release] that three Algerian Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees have been transferred to their adopted homeland of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The transfer follows a November ruling [order, PDF; JURIST report] by Judge Richard Leon [official profile] of the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] that five Algerian detainees must be released immediately. The three men, Mustafa Ait Idir, Mohamed Nechla, and Hadj Boudella were transferred to Bosnia Tuesday night, while two others remain in custody. The three transferred detainees are expected to be released [AP report] to their families.

One of the remaining two detainees is Lakhdar Boumediene, the man at the center of the US Supreme Court's landmark decision in Boumediene v. Bush [opinion, PDF; JURIST report], in which the Court ruled that federal courts have jurisdiction to review habeas corpus petitions filed by Guantanamo detainees who have been classified as "enemy combatants." Leon ruled in November that five of six detainees should be released because the government's evidence was insufficient to persuade him that the men were planning to travel to Afghanistan to join al Qaeda and were not properly classified as "enemy combatants." Leon ordered that a sixth detainee, Belkacem ben Sayah, remain in custody because the government's evidence against him was sufficient to label him an enemy combatant. In October, Leon ruled [order, PDF; JURIST report] that in order to be validly held as "enemy combatants," Guantanamo Bay detainees must have directly supported hostilities against the US or its allies, setting the standard that the government must use to justify their detention.

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