Pentagon transfers two Guantanamo prisoners

The Obama administration is transferring to Algeria two Guantánamo Bay detainees accused of battling U.S. forces in Afghanistan and plotting to bomb a U.S. embassy, the Pentagon announced Thursday.

The two men have been held at the U.S. prison in Cuba since 2002. The Guantánamo Review Task Force recommended both of them for transfer in 2010.

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“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. “In accordance with congressionally-mandated reporting requirements, the administration informed Congress of its intent to transfer these individuals.”

Djamel Saiid Ali Ameziane was captured in Pakistan after fleeing Afghanistan in 2001 and subsequently turned over to the U.S. He has been accused of being affiliated with al Qaeda and battling U.S. and coalition forces.

Bensayah Belkecem was arrested in Bosnia shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks along with five other men and accused of plotting to bomb the American Embassy there. The other men were released in 2009.

“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 said. “The United States coordinated with the Government of Algeria to ensure these transfers took place with appropriate security and humane treatment assurances.”

Today, 162 detainees remain at Guantánamo Bay.

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