[JURIST] The US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] announced Monday that two Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] detainees have been transferred to Saudi Arabia [press release]. Saad Muhammad Husayn Qahtani and Hamood Abdulla Hamood had been held since 2002, but neither had been charged with a crime. The two men were recommended for transfer in 2009 after a review by the the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force. According to a statement:
The United States is grateful to the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its willingness to support ongoing US efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The United States coordinated with the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to ensure these transfers took place with appropriate security and humane treatment assurances.
The transfer brings the total number of Guantanamo detainees down to 160, and more transfers are anticipated [Al Jazeera report].
Earlier this month two detainees were transferred to their native Algeria [JURIST report]. Last month the DOD ruled that media entities would not be allowed [JURIST report] to sit in on the first session of the Periodic Review Board hearings, parole-type hearings for detainees that were established by 2011 legislation. The week before a military judge ordered the US government to submit reports [JURIST report] on prison conditions and removed restrictions on communications between lawyers and detainees. In October attorneys for 5 detainees attempted to declassify [JURIST report] the CIA interrogation program that allegedly subjected prisoners to torture. That same month a military judge refused to suspend pretrial hearings [JURIST report] in the ongoing case against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four co-defendants. In September detainee Shaker Aamer [JURIST news archive] filed [JURIST report] a complaint against British security forces for delaying his scheduled release from Guantanamo.