Guantanamo down to 250 detainees; future uncertain

Miami HeraldNovember 11, 2008 

The Pentagon has sent two more Guantanamo detainees home to Algeria, reducing the prison camps' population to about 250.

The latest transfer, announced on Monday, has been part of a steady series of departures from the controversial prison camps in southeast Cuba as the Bush administration winds down.

A filing in federal court listed one of the two men repatriated to his homeland as Soufian Huwari, 38. The other has not yet been identified.

Defense Department documents indicate that Huwari was sent to Guantanamo in May 2003 and had traveled through Europe and joined Chechen fighters in the Republic of Georgia before his capture.

The transfer comes at a time of much debate over the future of the Pentagon's showcase detention center.

The American Civil Liberties Union is urging President-elect Barack Obama to issue an executive order halting the military commissions there and ordering the camps' closure on his inauguration day.

The Obama transition team's spokeswoman, Stephanie Cutter, replied that no decision would be made without first "conferring with congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle, as well as interested groups.''

Cutter's statement did not appear to rule out pre-inauguration deliberations, however, noting that "any decisions would need to be discussed with his Cabinet nominees, none of whom have been selected yet.''

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