Is this the beginning of the end for Guantanamo?
On Friday, President Obama’s press secretary Jay Carney released a statement which said, “As the president has said, the United States remains determined to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. In support of those efforts, today the Department of Defense certified to Congress its intent to repatriate an additional two detainees to Algeria.”
This will be the first transfer of detainees from the Navy prison in nearly a year. The last detainee from Guantanamo to be repatriated was Omar Khadr, who was returned to Canada in September, 2012, where he is serving the remainder of his 8 year sentence.
The Washington Post reports:
Under U.S. law, Congress must receive a 30-day notification before any transfer.
The administration does not need congressional approval for detainee transfers when the defense secretary certifies that those being released do not constitute a threat to national security.
The detainees have not been identified, but according to Caitlin Hayden, who is a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said the Algerian government is “willing and able as a political and security matter to accept them.” She also added:
That we are finally able to certify two detainee transfers under the current legal restrictions should not confuse the issue. The current legislative restrictions are cumbersome, unnecessary and, with the exception of a few rare circumstances, unworkable.
Once the two men are transferred, there will be 164 detainees left at the prison, which is still in the midst of a hunger strike that began in February.