The White House announced Thursday it was transferring two Guantanamo Bay inmates — one who’s accused of plotting to bomb a U.S. Embassy, and the other of fighting against U.S. troops — back to Algeria, an apparent step in the direction of achieving President Obama’s promise to close the detention facility.
The two have been detained at Gitmo since 2002, The Hill reported. The Guantanamo Review Task Force suggested as far back as 2010 that they both be transferred, however.
“As a result of that review, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, these men were designated for transfer by consensus of the six departments and agencies comprising the task force,” the Pentagon said, in a statement reported by The Hill. “In accordance with congressionally-mandated reporting requirements, the administration informed Congress of its intent to transfer these individuals.”
One of the men, Djamel Saiid Ali Ameziane, fled Afghanistan but was caught in Pakistan in 2001, then turned over to the United States, The Hill said. He was accused of fighting U.S. and coalition military forces, as a member of al Qaeda.
The other, Bensayah Belkecem, was found and arrested with five other men in Bosnia soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on America. They were all charged with plotting to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Bosnia, The Hill reported. The other five men were already released from Gitmo, back in 2009.
The Pentagon also thanked Algeria for supporting the closure of Gitmo — a pet project of Mr. Obama, who promised during both campaigns that he would shut the detention site down and transfer all the inmates to other locations.
“The United States is grateful to the government of Algeria for its willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility,” the Pentagon statement said, The Hill reported. “The United States coordinated with the government of Algeria to ensure these transfers took place with appropriate security and humane treatment assurances.”