The American government has released two prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, the high profile anti-terrorism prison in Cuba, the Defense Department confirmed on Monday.
The two Libyans, formerly explosives experts for al-Qaeda, were transferred to Senegal.
Salem Abdu Salam Ghereby is thought to have fought in Afghanistan against coalition forces at Usama bin Laden’s Tora Bora “and was associated with senior members of al-Qaeda.”
In 2008, Omar Khalif Mohammed Abu Baker Mahjour Umar was judged likely to “immediately seek out prior associates and reengage in hostilities and extremist support activities.”
Legislation is being put forward by Senators which would make it illegal for the government to transfer Guantanamo Bay detainees to countries designated as terror hotspots and/or state sponsors of terrorism. These include Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iran and Sudan. Sen. Mark Kirk, (R-IL) was reported to be introducing a bill soon.
After the releases, 89 people remain in the Guantanamo Bay detention center.
“We are taking all possible steps to reduce the detainee population at Guantanamo and to close the detention facility in a responsible manner that protects our national security,” Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday.
In late March, a Pentagon official told congressmen that Americans have been killed as a result of Guantanamo Bay detainees being released.
“What I can tell you is unfortunately there have been Americans that have died because of (Guantanamo) detainees,” Pentagon special envoy for Guantanamo Bay detention closure Paul Lewis told the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He declined to give details.