The Obama administration has released five Guantanamo Bay prisoners after an administration task force determined they no longer posed a threat.
The Department of Defense announced Thursday that three of the men were sent to Georgia and two to Slovakia for resettlement. The Pentagon identified the three now former prisoners resettled in Georgia as Abdel Ghaib Ahmad Hakim, Salah Mohammed Salih Al-Dhabi and Abdul Khaled Al-Baydani. The two sent to Slovakia were Hashim Bin Ali Bin Amor Sliti and Husayn Salim Muhammad Al-Mutari Yafai.
Hakim was the first prisoner from Yemen to be released since 2010. Yemenis make up the majority of men cleared for release because the U.S. is reluctant to send prisoners to the unstable country.
The group was among dozens of low-level prisoners at Guantanamo who were determined to no longer pose a threat by an administration task force in 2009.
Their release brings the total prison population to 143, about 100 fewer than when President Barack Obama took office pledging to close the detention center.
However Obama’s vow to close Guantanamo was opposed by many in Congress, and lawmakers imposed restrictions that brought releases to a halt.
Congress eased the restrictions in December, and releases have resumed. U.S. State Department envoy Clifford Sloan has been trying to persuade countries to accept prisoners and he praised Georgia and Slovakia for their assistance.
“We are very grateful to our partners for these generous humanitarian gestures,” Sloan said. “We appreciate the strong support we are receiving from our friends and allies around the globe.”
However House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon slammed the releases in a statement Thursday, saying he is concerned former Gitmo detainees will rejoin terror organizations.
“What the Obama administration is doing is dangerous and, frankly, reckless,” McKeon, R-Calif., said. “They have chosen many times to put politics above national security. It’s time they stop playing with fire and start doing what’s right. Until we can assure the terrorists stay off the battlefield, they must stay behind bars.”
Georgia took three prisoners from Guantanamo in 2010. Slovakia has now taken a total of eight men from Guantanamo.
There are now 74 prisoners at Guantanamo cleared and awaiting resettlement. Thirty-six have been designated for detention without charge. There are also 23 slated for prosecution and 10 either facing trial by military commission or have been convicted or sentenced.
Courtesy of Fox News