[JURIST] An official from the US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] said Wednesday that about one in five detainees freed from the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] have returned to terrorist activities, according to a new Pentagon report. The report, which remains classified, shows an increase from the 14 percent recidivism rate reported last spring. That number was up from 11 percent in December 2008. The report was completed in late December [ABC News report], and officials have not released the raw numbers on which the 20 percent figure is based. Many human rights groups dispute the numbers [LAT report], calling them inflated, and some reports have suggested that many Guantanamo detainees are innocent [JURIST report], never having engaged in terrorist activities in the first place.
News of the latest report comes just a day after the White House announced that it was suspending transfers of Guantanamo detainees to Yemen [JURIST news archive]. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs would not say [press briefing] Wednesday whether that decision was due to fears that detainees would return to terrorist activities. Last year, the DOD said that the US would not change its policy [JURIST report] on the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to Saudi Arabia, despite reports that two former prisoners had joined al Qaeda in Yemen after undergoing a Saudi rehabilitation program.