WASHINGTON, July 11 – Two inmates from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are being transferred to Serbia, leaving 76 detainees at the facility, the U.S. government said on Monday.
The Department of Defense announced the transfer of Yemeni national Mansur Ahmad Saad al-Dayfi and Tajik national Muhammadi Davlatov.
It is the first time the United States has transferred Guantanamo Bay prisoners to Serbia, said Lee Wolosky, the State Department special envoy for Guantanamo’s closure.
“The United States appreciates the generous assistance of Serbia as the United States continues its efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement. “This significant humanitarian gesture is consistent with Serbia’s leadership on the global stage.”
Davlatov was approved for transfer nearly six years ago by six departments and agencies – the Departments of Defense, State, Justice and Homeland Security, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Al-Dayfi was approved for transfer in October by a review board that determined his detention was no longer necessary for national security, the Defense Department said in a statement.
Wolofsky said the Obama administration had notified Congress of its intent to transfer the two men, as required by law.
U.S. President Barack Obama had hoped to close the prison during his first year in office in 2009, but has faced opposition from many Republican lawmakers as well as some fellow Democrats.
Most of the inmates remaining at the U.S. naval base prison have been held without charge or trial since being rounded up overseas following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States involving hijacked planes.
The United States said on Sunday it had transferred a Yemeni inmate from Guantanamo to Italy.