Two detainees transferred from Guantánamo

Two Guantánamo Bay detainees have been transferred from the detention facility to Saudi Arabia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

The two detainees, Saad Muhammad Husayn Qahtani and Hamood Abdulla Hamood, were both previously cleared for release by the U.S. after a review of their cases. Neither man was charged with a crime.

The detainee transfer brings the Guantánamo detainee population down to 160.

The Saudi transfers come two weeks after another two detainees were sent to Algeria. The detainees’ attorneys objected to those transfers, however, over concerns that the detainees were at risk of persecution in Algeria.

Additional transfers could be coming as part of President Obama’s efforts to close the detention facility.

The Defense authorization bill, which is expected to get a vote in the Senate this week, could facilitate more transfers of cleared detainees to foreign countries, as it would ease those reporting requirements.

“The US has made real progress in responsibly transferring Guantánamo detainees despite the burdensome legislative restrictions that have impeded our efforts,” Paul Lewis, the Pentagon’s special envoy for closing the prison, said in a statement Monday.

Lewis said that he and his counterpart at the State Department were “committed to facilitating additional responsible transfers to the maximum extent possible as we work to reduce the detainee population and ultimately close the facility.”