In President Obama’s quest to empty Guantanamo of its inmate population, the Defense Department announced the transfer of two detainees to Algeria.
Djamel Saiid Ali Ameziane was captured by Pakistani forces in 2001 while trying to flee Tora Bora with other al-Qaeda operatives. A 2008 assessment determined Ameziane a “high risk, as he is likely to pose a threat to the US, its interests, and allies.”
Bensayah Belkecem was arrested by Bosnian authorities in 2001 for involvement in a terrorist plot against the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo. His 2008 DoD assessment noted he was not only a high risk to the U.S. but held high intelligence value.
“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 men were designated for transfer by consensus of the six departments and agencies comprising the task force. In accordance with congressionally-mandated reporting requirements, the administration informed Congress of its intent to transfer these individuals,” the Pentagon said early this morning.
“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 United States coordinated with the Government of Algeria to ensure these transfers took place with appropriate security and humane treatment assurances.”
This leaves 162 detainees at Guantanamo.