The White House announced Friday that it would send two prisoners to Algeria. This is the first major action to close the prison in years.
Detainees participate in an early morning prayer session at Camp IV at the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base August 5, 2009. (Photo by Deborah Gembara/Reuters)
Two months after President Obama renewed his pledge to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, the White House said it will repatriate two detainees to Algeria. The two men have not yet been identified.
In a statement released Friday, the While House said that the Department of Defense had informed Congress of its plan. “As the president has said, the United States remains determined to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay,” the statement read. “In support of those efforts, today the Department of Defense certified to Congress its intent to repatriate an additional two detainees to Algeria.”
Congress has passed a number of restrictions limiting options for releasing detainees from Guantanamo, but there are provisions in place that make it possible for detainees to leave the military prison without Congressional approval. The White House said, “We are taking this step in consultation with the Congress, and in a responsible manner that protects our national security.”
There are currently 166 men held at the prison at Guantanamo Bay, and these two detainees are among the 86 who have been cleared for release or transfer by an Obama-appointed task force.