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Homeland Security

09 February 2006

Pentagon Announces Release of Seven More Detainees

First round of annual review hearings completed, recommendations made

Washington -- After completion of the first round of Administrative Review Board hearings, seven detainees held in custody by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were released to Afghanistan, the Defense Department announced February 9.

Five of the men had been recommended for release by the ARB, which assesses each detainee annually to determine if he should be released, transferred or retained in custody.

The ARB made 463 recommendations, based on hearings held between December 14, 2004, and December 23, 2005.  Decisions on those recommendations, made by Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England, will result in 14 releases, 120 transfers and 329 continued detentions.

During the review, each eligible detainee is given the opportunity to appear in person before a three-person military panel to provide information that would support his release and is provided a military officer to assist him through the ARB process.

The Department of State also solicits Information on the detainee from his family and home government, as well as from various U.S. government agencies.  The ARB considers all this information in making its recommendation.  The final decision, however, rests with a designated civilian official – currently England.

If it is decided that continued detention of an enemy combatant is warranted, a new date is scheduled for his next annual review.

The department notes that the review process is discretionary and unprecedented, as neither the Geneva Conventions nor U.S. or international law require it.

The most recent action regarding the release of seven detainees brings the total number of detainees released or transferred to other governments to 267.  Governments that have agreed to take responsibility for citizens' released to their custody include Afghanistan, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Kuwait, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden and Uganda.

Additional transfers or releases of detainees are expected as the war on terrorism continues.

For additional information see Detainee Issues.

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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