[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced Monday and Tuesday the transfer of four detainees from Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] to three European countries, as the detainee population at the detention facility continues to be reduced. Two of the former detainees, Tunisian natives Adel Ben Mabrouk and Mohamed Riadh Ben Nasri, were transferred to Italy [press release] and will stand trial there. The other detainees include an unidentified Palestinian man transferred to Hungary [press release], the first to be accepted [MTI report] under the agreement forged between the US and Hungary [JURIST report] in September, and an Algerian, Saber Lahmar, who was transferred to France [press release]. It is unclear when the Italian trial will begin, though Italian authorities may be waiting for transfer of a third Tunisian man [Corriere della Sera report, in Italian].
While the administration works to reduce the population at Guantanamo in advance of its closure, the likelihood of meeting a January 2010 deadline has recently appeared less and less likely. In early November, the Center for American Progress released a report [JURIST report] that indicated much of the delay in closing Guantanamo was due to failings at the White House. In October, Attorney General Eric Holder indicated that it was unlikely that the facility would be closed by January, a sentiment that mirrored statements by anonymous administration officials in September [JURIST reports]. Obama originally issued the executive order to close Guantanamo [JURIST report] within a year on January 22, two days after taking office.