Republicans question transfer of low-level Guantanamo Bay detainees
Republicans question transfer of low-level Guantanamo Bay detainees

[JURIST] In a hearing [videos] on Thursday several Republican lawmakers questioned Obama administration officials in regards to the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees. In the hearing [NYT report], before the House Foreign Affairs committee [official website], lawmakers claimed that the two administration officials have placed detainees in countries that do not have the necessary oversight capabilities, citing to the disappearance of former detainee [NYT report], Jihad Diyab, who was sent to Uruguay in 2014. Early last month Diyab had stated that he would be unreachable by phone or e-mail due to a religious retreat he planned to attend and, soon after, Uruguayan officials reported that they had lost track of Diyab. Republican Represenative Ed Royce scolded State Department [official website] special envoy for closing Guantanamo bay Lee Wolosky for providing “false assurances to Congress” in regards to Uruguay’s promise to mitigate risks posed by the six detainees given to Uruguay. Wolosky stated that risks were mitigated, but they were not, and could not, be eliminated. Royce also questioned Paul Lewis, a member of the Department of Defense (DOD)[official website], over intelligence reports on countries where detainees have been sent, stating that the reports show some countries were ill-equipped to handle the detainees. Lewis countered by saying that intelligence files were “one of many reports we look at” and assured Royce that any security faults were dealt with accordingly before release of detainees.

In February US President Obama delivered a plan to Congress to close Guantanamo Bay [JURIST report]. In November the US Senate passed [JURIST report] the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (NDAA), which prohibits Guantanamo detainees from being transferred into the US. Obama signed the bill into law, despite the fact that it could delay his plan to close the prison. In April the DOD announced the transfer of nine detainees to Saudi Arabia and the transfer [JURIST report] of two more detainees to Senegal. Libyan nationals Salem Abdu Salam Ghereby, 55, and Omar Khalif Mohammed Abu Baker Mahjour, about 44, were released after being held nearly 14 years without charges.The DOD said [JURIST report] last year they were sending teams to review three Colorado prisons as part of Obama’s efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay prison in October. The Guantanamo Review Task Force was created in response to a 2009 presidential executive order to review the status of all detainees.