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26 Jul, 2013 18:50

2 Guantanamo detainees to be repatriated to Algeria - White House

2 Guantanamo detainees to be repatriated to Algeria - White House

Washington said it intends to send two Guantanamo Bay detainees back home to Algeria. The Obama administration made the decision “in consultation with the Congress,” according to a White House spokesperson.

Follow RT’s day-by-day timeline of the Gitmo hunger strike 

The US Defense Department notified Congress on Friday that it plans to repatriate two Guantanamo detainees, White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.

“We are taking this step in consultation with Congress, and in a responsible manner that protects our national security,” the statement said.

“We continue to call on Congress to join us in supporting these efforts by lifting the current restrictions that significantly limit our ability to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo, even those who have been approved for transfer,” Carney added.

He went on to assure that US President Obama “remains determined” to close the detention facility. 

It will be the first repatriation of Guantanamo detainees in three years, since two other Algerians returned to their home country in early 2010. Two Uyghurs were also freed and sent to El Salvador in 2012, although they were not repatriated, as China still considers the released Uyghurs to be terrorists. One of the former detainees – along with five other Chinese Muslims released from Gitmo in 2009 – has been stuck in Palau, his “temporary resettlement” spot, according to US officials.

Eighty-six of the 166 Guantanamo detainees are still being held in the US prison, despite being cleared for release.

Sixty-eight Gitmo prisoners are taking part in the ongoing hunger strike in protest against their indefinite detention, with 44 detainees being force-fed, according to prison officials.