U.S. Releases Two Guantánamo Detainees, Though They’d Rather Stay

GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA - OCTOBER 28: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been reviewed by U.S. Military prior to transmission) A group of detainees kneels during an early morning Islamic prayer in their camp at the U.S. military prison for “enemy combatants” on October 28, 2009 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Although U.S. President Barack Obama pledged in his first executive order last January to close the infamous prison within a year’s time, the government has been struggling to try the accused terrorists and to transfer them out ahead of the deadline. Military officials at the prison point to improved living standards and state of the art medical treatment available to detainees, but the facility’s international reputation remains tied to the “enhanced interrogation techniques” such as waterboarding employed under the Bush administration. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) Photo: John Moore/2009 Getty Images

The U.S. government has renewed its effort to shut down Guantánamo Bay, but the two men who were recently released aren’t celebrating. On Thursday, the Pentagon announced two detainees were transferred to their home country of Algeria, though they said they fear persecution and would rather stay in Cuba. A State Department spokesman said they’re confident that Algeria will “abide by lawful procedures.” Wells Dixon, a lawyer for one of the men, countered that they’re just “numbers on a spreadsheet” for the agency. “I think the State Department doesn’t care if it ruins their lives,” he added. They’ve been held since 2002 and never charged, so that seems like a good bet.


Guantánamo Prisoners Sent Home, No One Is Happy