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Remaining Ethnic Uighur Chinese Detainees Transferred from Guantanamo

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 8:42 AM

Today the Department of Defense announced that Yusef Abbas, Saidullah Khalik, and Hajiakbar Abdul Ghuper have been transferred to the government of Slovakia, and will voluntarily settle in that country. They were the last ethnic Uighur Chinese still held at the detention facility. Eleven detainees have been transferred this year, and there are 155 detainees remaining in Guantanamo.

Read Carol Rosenberg’s piece in the Miami Herald, and Charlie Savage’s in the New York Times for more details.

Here’s the DoD’s press release:

“The Department of Defense is announcing today the transfer of Yusef Abbas, Saidullah Khalik, and Hajiakbar Abdul Ghuper from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the Government of Slovakia.

“These three are the last ethnic Uighur Chinese nationals to be transferred. They were subject to release from Guantanamo as a result of a court order issued on Oct. 7, 2008, by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and are voluntarily resettling in Slovakia.

“As directed by the president’s Jan. 22, 2009, executive order, the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force conducted a comprehensive review of these cases. As a result of that review, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, these individuals were designated for transfer by unanimous consent among all six agencies on the task force.

“In accordance with statutory reporting requirements, the administration informed Congress of its intent to transfer these individuals.

“The United States is grateful to the government of Slovakia for this humanitarian gesture and its willingness to support U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The United States coordinated with the government of Slovakia to ensure the transfer took place in accordance with appropriate security and humane treatment measures.

“This transfer and resettlement constitutes a significant milestone in our effort to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Secretary Hagel remains grateful to the Defense Department’s Special Envoy Paul Lewis, and Department of State Special Envoy Cliff Sloan, for their and their respective teams’ many efforts that facilitated this successful transfer.

“Today, 155 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay.”