US transfers 16 Saudi detainees from Guantanamo Bay

US transfers 16 Saudi detainees from Guantanamo Bay

[JURIST] The US Department of Defense [official website] said Thursday that 16 Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees have been transferred to their home country [press release] of Saudi Arabia [JURIST news archive]. Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz [official website] welcomed the release of detainees, and said he was hopeful that all Saudi detainees currently in custody at Guantanamo Bay would be returned to the country. The Defense Department has indicated that approximately 80 detainees at Guantanamo are currently eligible to be transferred off the base, and the terms of their departure are the focus of ongoing discussions between the US and the detainees' home nations.

With the transfer, about 340 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay. Last month, US President George W. Bush said that while he hopes that the prison can eventually be closed, other countries have been reluctant to accept the detainees [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.