American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 31, 2013 – The Department of Defense today announced the transfer of Yusef Abbas, Saidullah Khalik and Hajiakbar Abdul Ghuper from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the government of Slovakia, according to a DOD news release.
These three detainees are the last ethnic Uighur Chinese nationals to be transferred from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, the release said. These detainees, the release said, were subject to release from Guantanamo as a result of a court order issued on Oct. 7, 2008, by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and are voluntarily resettling in Slovakia.
As directed by the president's Jan. 22, 2009, executive order, the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force conducted a comprehensive review of these cases, the release said. As a result of that review, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, these individuals were designated for transfer by unanimous consent among all six agencies on the task force, the release said.
In accordance with statutory reporting requirements, the administration informed Congress of its intent to transfer these individuals, the release said.
The United States is grateful to the government of Slovakia for this humanitarian gesture and its willingness to support U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, the release said. The United States coordinated with the government of Slovakia to ensure the transfer took place in accordance with appropriate security and humane treatment measures, the release said.
This transfer and resettlement constitutes a significant milestone in our effort to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, the release said.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel remains grateful to the Defense Department's Special Envoy Paul Lewis, and Department of State Special Envoy Cliff Sloan, for their and their respective teams' many efforts that facilitated this successful transfer, the release said.
Today, 155 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay, according to the release.