[JURIST] The US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] on Monday announced the transfer[press release] of six detainees from the Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] detention center to Uruguay. This move is the result of a 2009 Executive Order [text] issued by President Obama [official profile] instructing the Guantanamo Bay Review Force to review these cases. The decision to transfer the detainees was unanimous amongst all parties constituting the inter-agency task force [text, PDF]: the DOD, Department of Justice, State Department, Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Joint Chiefs of Staff [official websites]. The six detainees are Ahmed Adnan Ahjam, Ali Hussain Shaabaan, Omar Mahmoud Faraj, Jihad Diyab, Abdul Bin Mohammed Abis Ourgy and Mohammed Tahanmatan. The men comprise four Syrians, a Tunisian and a Palestinian, respectively, and they will be granted refugee status by the Uruguayan government. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel [official profile] informed Congress of the US’ intent to transfer and its accordance with statutory requirement. After this transfer, there will be 136 detainees left at Guantanamo Bay.
The detention facilities at Guantanamo have continued to face scrutiny for detaining prisoners and alleged human rights violations. Last month the UN Committee Against Torture [official website] reported that the US has fallen short of full compliance [JURIST report] with the Convention Against Torture international treaty [text]. The committee raised particular concern regarding Guantanamo, urging the US to cease the indefinite holding of suspects of terrorism-related activities without official charge or trial, to “appropriately prosecute those responsible” for detainee mistreatment and to “ensure effective redress for victims.” Also last month the DOD announced the transfer [JURIST report] of five detainees from Guantanamo Bay. Three were transferred to the country of Georgia, and the other two to Slovakia [press releases]. Also in November the DOD announced [JURIST report] the release of Fouzi Khalid Abdullah Al Awda from Guantanamo, after nearly 13 years of imprisonment without a trial. In October a federal judge ordered [JURIST report] the public release of 28 videos showing the forcible removal and forced feeding of a detainee, but the US Department of Justice filed a motion seeking to stay [JURIST report] the order. Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] published a letter in April to Obama, urging the US to expedite the return [JURIST report] of Yemeni detainees cleared for release from Guantanamo Bay.