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Obama administration to transfer 6 Guantanamo detainees overseas: report

[JURIST] The Obama administration has notified Congress of plans to transfer six Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees out of the country, according to a Tuesday Miami Herald report [text]. The notifications were reportedly filed August 7, in accordance with a new law that requires risk assessments and notification of transfers. One of the six detainees is Mohammed Jawad [ACLU materials; JURIST news archive], who will be repatriated to Afghanistan. The other five have not been identified, but two are expected to be sent to Ireland, two to Portugual [JURIST reports], and the sixth to an undecided nation. Also this week, the Belgian Foreign Ministry [official website] announced it was sending a delegation [press release] to Guantanamo to interview a detainee who could be released to that country. There is also another foreign delegation traveling to Guantanamo this week.

These latest developments come as the Obama administration works toward closing the detention facility. The administration is exploring options for detainees who cannot be sent overseas, and, last week, federal and state officials toured a prison in rural Michigan [JURIST report] in anticipation that it could eventually hold Guantanamo detainees. Also last week, federal officials said that terrorism trials for some inmates could be held at a new high-security courthouse in Newport News, VA [Washington Post report] if the Obama administration sends cases to federal courts [JURIST report]. The Obama administration faces sharp opposition from members of Congress over plans to transfer Guantanamo detainees to US soil. In late July, US Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Charles Johnson and Assistant Attorney General for National Security David Kris [official profiles], both members of task force appointed by Obama to oversee the closing of Guantanamo, testified [JURIST report] in front of the House Armed Services Committee [official website] that the Obama administration is considering transferring more Guantanamo Bay detainees to the US as they urged Congress to pass proposed reforms to the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [text, PDF; JURIST news archive] and detainee policy.

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