U.S. Sends Guantanamo Detainees to Algeria Despite Fears of Persecution

There are still more than 160 detainees at Guantanamo.

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The United States said Thursday that it repatriated two Guantanamo Bay detainees to Algeria as it looks to eventually shutter the prison, sending them to their native country despite their fears of persecution back home.

One of the detainees had asked to be reunited with his wife and daughters in Bosnia, where he was arrested in 2002, and the other sought to return to Canada, their lawyers told AFP.

In a statement Thursday, the Department of Defense said the government coordinated with authorities in Algeria — the only country allowed under U.S. law to accept Guantanamo detainees — to transfer the two detainees. “Transfer” in Pentagon parlance, Politico notes, could mean the release from custody or the continued imprisonment abroad.

The statement said the detainees were sent to Algeria “with appropriate security and humane treatment assurances.”

There are now 162 detainees at Guantanamo, which President Barack Obama had vowed to shut down by the end of his first year in office.