Who are Guantanamo inmates that U.S. transferred to Serbia?

The U.S. Department of Defense announced on Monday that two inmates from the Guantanamo prison have been transferred to Serbia.

Source: Reuters, nytimes.com
(Getty Images, file)
(Getty Images, file)

According to Reuters, the prisoners are Yemeni Mansur Ahmad Saad al-Dayfi, and Muhammadi Davlatov, from Tajikistan.

"It is the first time the United States has transferred Guantanamo Bay prisoners to Serbia," State Department's special envoy for Guantanamo's closure Lee Wolosky said, according to Reuters.

"The United States appreciates the generous assistance of Serbia as the United States continues its efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. This significant humanitarian gesture is consistent with Serbia’s leadership on the global stage," the agency quoted a statement issued by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

The statement, posted on the U.S. State Department's website, added:

"The United States is grateful to the Republic of Serbia for offering humanitarian resettlement to two individuals formerly in U.S. custody at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility. On July 11, the Department of Defense announced the transfer of a Tajik national, Muhammadi Davlatov, and a Yemeni national, Mansur Ahmad Saad al-Dayfi, to Serbia."

"Each detainee was unanimously approved for transfer by six U.S. government departments and agencies: Mr. Davlatov through the 2009-2010 Executive Order Task Force, and Mr. al-Dayfi by the more recent Periodic Review Board process. Serbia joins 30 other countries which, since 2009, have extended resettlement opportunities to over 100 detainees," the statement said.

In a report on Monday, the New York Times named the two men as "Abdul Rahman Ahmed, a Yemeni national, and Omar Hamzayavich Abdulayev, a citizen of Tajikistan."

According to the paper, both were captured in late 2001 "as part of the war in Afghanistan and were turned over to the United States military, which held them in indefinite wartime detention without trial for more than 14 years."

A review board described the Yemeni as once being “probably a low-level fighter who was aligned with Al Qaeda" who "changed his mind-set in prison, become fluent in English, completed courses required for a high school equivalency degree and largely complied with prison rules since 2012."

“The board found the detainee credible in his desire to pursue non-extremist goals and higher education as well as his embrace of Western culture,” the New York Times quoted a public report issued by the board.

The Tajik citizen, meanwhile, "remained stranded because the administration decided he could not safely be repatriated." According to the paper, he had been awaiting transfer since 2009, "when the detainee review task force decided that he posed a low enough threat that he should be released to a secure country."

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