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US military announces transfer of 6 Guantanamo detainees

[JURIST] The US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] on Saturday announced it had transferred six detainees [DOD press release] out of Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. The detainees, four of whom were sent to Iraq, one to Algeria, and one to Afghanistan, were found to be eligible for transfer after what DOD called "a comprehensive series of review processes." About 245 detainees remain at the facility, with roughly 60 eligible for transfer or release. The Afghan who was transferred, Haji Bismullah, was cleared of enemy combatant status [Miami Herald report] on review [JURIST report] "based on new information." In July 2007, a three-judge panel of the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled [PDF text; JURIST report] in a case brought by Bismullah that federal appeals courts reviewing enemy combatant designations under the Detainee Treatment Act [text] must review all evidence regarding that detainee, rejecting the government's argument [JURIST report] that it should only have to turn over the same evidence as presented to a detainee's Combatant Status Review Tribunal [DOD materials]. The government later appealed that ruling [JURIST report] to the US Supreme Court. The other five detainees transferred retained their enemy combatant designations.

Last week, advisers to US President-elect Barack Obama said he plans to issue an executive order [JURIST report] during his first week in office closing the Guantanamo Bay prison camp. On Wednesday, a judge on the US District Court for the District of Columbia granted habeas [JURIST report] to Chadian detainee Mohammed El Gharani and directed his release. An ongoing hunger strike [JURIST report] at Guantanamo now involves 42 detainees.

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