The Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg has the scoop; apparently the five men are headed for Kazakhstan.
The Pentagon freed five Guantánamo prisoners to resettlement in Kazakhstan on Tuesday, a day after they left on a U.S. Air Force cargo plane that had to circle back to the base in Cuba with a mechanical problem.
The transfers of three Yemenis and two Tunisians demonstrated the far-flung nature of the State Department’s resettlement deals as it tries to chart new lives for cleared captives whose home nations are too unsettled for repatriation.
It was also the latest in a surge of transfers that has reduced the prison camp population to 127.
But it got off to a shaky start for the captives who, though cleared for release years ago, typically depart as they arrived — in shackles with blindfolds and ears muffled. U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity while the transfer mission was underway, said the five were first flown from the base in a C-17 Monday but the pilot circled back about 90 minutes later because of mechanical problems. They departed again Tuesday.
The Defense Department said the following in a statement:
The Department of Defense announced today the transfer of Asim Thabit Abdullah Al-Khalaqi, Muhammad Ali Husayn Khanayna, Sabri Muhammad Ibrahim Al Qurashi, Adel Al-Hakeemy, and Abdullah Bin Ali Al-Lufti from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to Kazakhstan.
As directed by the president's Jan. 22, 2009, executive order, the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force conducted a comprehensive review of this case. As a result of that review, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, these men were unanimously approved for transfer by the six departments and agencies comprising the task force.
In accordance with statutory requirements, the secretary of defense informed Congress of the United States’ intent to transfer these individuals and of his determination that this transfer meets the statutory standard.
The United States coordinated with the Government of Kazakhstan to ensure these transfers took place consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures.
Today, 127 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay.