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Homeland Security

6 Guantanamo Bay Detainees to be Sent to Uruguay

by VOA News July 17, 2014

The Obama administration has informed the U.S. Congress that it will transfer six detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to the South American country of Uruguay.

U.S. news outlets say Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sent a letter to congressional leaders last week notifying them of the plan.

The impending transfer would be the first since five former Taliban commanders were sent to Qatar in May in exchange for the release of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured in Afghanistan five years ago. The exchange angered congressional lawmakers because the Obama administration did not inform them of the transfer within the required 30-day notice.

The group -- four Syrians, a Palestinian and a Tunisian -- are among more than 70 of the 149 current detainees who have been cleared to be transferred from the military detention center. One of the Syrians, Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab, has filed a lawsuit against the military over its procedures to force-feed detainees who are on a hunger strike to protest their indefinite detention.

A spokesman for the U.S. State Department issued a statement expressing gratitude to Uruguay for 'this significant humanitarian gesture.'

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