Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Two Algerian prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention center were repatriated, the Pentagon said on Thursday.
The release of Nabil Hadjarab, 34, and Motai Sayab, 37, leaves 164 detainees at the naval facility in southeast Cuba. Hadjarab and Sayab spent 11 years in the prison and were among the first detainees when it opened in 2002.
The Britain based legal activist group, Reprieve, which represents Hadjarab, said he agreed to be repatriated to Algeria and grateful to the Algerians for accepting him. The group said Hadjarab plans to be reunited with his family in France, where he was raised and grew up.
Sayab’s lawyer, Buz Eisenberg, said his client voluntarily returned to Algeria.
“His No. 1 priority was getting out of Guantánamo,” Miami Herald quoted Eisenberg as saying.
The prisoners’ transfer to Algeria reflects the renewed efforts to close the detention center, according to U.S. Special Envoy Cliff Sloan.
The last detainee release prior to Thursday happened in April 2012, when two Muslims of Uighur ethnicity were transferred and resettled in El Salvador.