Detainees leave Guantanamo for Switzerland, Republic of Georgia

Miami HeraldMarch 24, 2010 

The United States said Wednesday it sent two Uighur brothers from Guantanamo to start new lives in Switzerland, despite opposition from Beijing over what to do with the Chinese citizens.

The latest move, combined with the transfer of three captives from the U.S. Navy base in Cuba to the Republic of Georgia announced on Tuesday, left the detention center's census at 183 foreign captives from some two dozen countries.

A Justice Department announcement noted that the latest transfers had been earlier approved by the Bush administration, but was carried out through Obama era diplomacy.

``The United States is grateful to the government of Switzerland and the Canton of Jura for their willingness to support U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility,'' it said.

The departure of the men -- identified earlier as Arkin Mahmud, 45, and his brother Bahtiar, 32 -- also left only five Uighurs at Guantanamo, the last of 17 ethnic Muslim Chinese citizens whom a federal judge ordered freed in October 2008.

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