The US Department of Defense [official website] announced Thursday that two former Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees have been transferred to Germany [press release]. German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere [official profile, in German] said that state authorities in Hamburg and Rhineland-Palatinate will help the former detainees adapt to life in Germany as the nation's humanitarian contribution to closing the detention center [AP report]. Rhineland-Palatinate Interior Minister Karl Peter Bruch [official website, in German] did not name the closed facility [DW report] in which the detainees are being held, but stated that they would remain there at least a year before being released into the the states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Hamburg. During that time, they will be undergo psychological analysis, receive German language training and be observed by doctors and social workers. Once they are released, they will receive what has been described as intensive integration assistance from their host states and will be granted permanent residency permits [Spiegel report] that will allow them to live and travel anywhere in the EU. German critics of the plan, including opposition lawmakers and police unions, have argued that their presence could radicalize the Muslim population within the country and pose security problems. Bruch, along with other US and German officials, have denied that, arguing that the detainees would not pose any security threats.
Germany agreed to take the inmates after negotiations with the Obama administration, which had originally asked Germany to take up to 10 detainees [JURIST report] from the facility. De Maiziere emphasized in July that Germany had informed the US it would not consider any further requests [DW report] to accept detainees. In 2006, Germany also accepted a former detainee who had legal residency in the country [JURIST report]. The number of detainees at Guantanamo has been significantly reduced as the administration continues to transfer detainees to a growing list of countries including Italy, Maldives, Georgia, Albania, Latvia, Switzerland, Slovakia, Somaliland, Palau, Belgium, Afghanistan and Bermuda [JURIST reports]. There are currently 174 detainees remaining at the facility.