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162 detainees left at Guantanamo Bay

Dec. 5, 2013 at 9:29 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. Defense Department said Thursday there are 162 detainees remaining at the Navy's detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after the latest transfer.

The Defense Department said detainees Djamel Saiid Ali Ameziane and Bensayah Belkecem were transferred Thursday to the custody of the government of Algeria. They were designated for transfer by a six-agency task force mandated to review outstanding detainee cases at Guantanamo Bay.

"The United States coordinated with the government of Algeria to ensure these transfers took place with appropriate security and humane treatment assurances," the Defense Department said in a statement Thursday. "Today, 162 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay."

Files published by media watchdog Wikileaks say Belkecem had ties to al-Qaida in the Balkans. Ameziane was described as an al-Qaida fighter who received terrorist training in Afghanistan.

Both men were categorized as high-risk detainees, the Wikileaks files indicated.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in October appointed Paul Lewis, former general counsel at the House Armed Services Committee, to serve as special envoy for the closure of the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

President Barack Obama has said repeatedly he wants to close the detention center.

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