US transfers Guantanamo detainee to Algeria; 30 remain in prison – Middle East Monitor

The US announced, Thursday, the transfer of long time Guantanamo Bay detainee, Said bin Brahim bin Umran Bakush, to his home country of Algeria, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Secretary of Defence, Lloyd Austin, informed Congress of his intent to transfer Bakush to Algeria in February, the Pentagon said in a statement. A panel that reviews individual cases determined, 13 April, that it was no longer necessary to hold Bakush at the controversial prison, setting the stage for his release.

“The United States appreciates the willingness of the Government of Algeria, and other partners to support ongoing US efforts toward a deliberate and thorough process focused on responsibly reducing the detainee population and, ultimately, closing the Guantanamo Bay facility,” the Defence Department said in a statement .

Former President, Barack Obama, established the Periodic Review Board (PRB) in 2011 to review inmates for potential release as he attempted to close the military prison that has been the site of repeated controversies since it was opened by President George W. Bush to house inmates from his “War on Terror”.

Obama was unsuccessful in shuttering the facility, with 55 details remaining there when he left office. His successor, Donald Trump, vowed to keep the prison open in Cuba.

At least 780 people have been held at the Guantanamo Bay military prison, since details were sent there beginning in 2002, according to Human Rights Watch.

President Joe Biden transferred his first detainee six months into his presidency, an individual approved for clearance in 2016 under the Obama administration, but whom Trump refused to transfer.

Of the 30 individuals who remain at Guantanamo, 16 are eligible for transfer, 3 are eligible to be reviewed by the PRB, 9 are in military court proceedings, and 2 others have been convicted of offenses in military court.

Congress has established roadblocks, barring any of the details from being transferred to the US, making it unclear how those convicted of offenses or being tried will be handled if Guantanamo is closed.

READ: ‘It’s time the US released pictures of  Guantanamo’s children, the waterboarding, the blood-stained walls of cells where prisoners were killed’

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