The U.S. Department of Defense announced on January 6, 2016, the transfer of Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the Government of Ghana.
The United States is grateful to the Government of Ghana for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The United States coordinated with the Government of Ghana to ensure these transfers took place consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures.
The decision to transfer a detainee is made only after detailed, specific conversations with the receiving country about the potential threat a detainee may pose after transfer and the measures the receiving country will take in order to sufficiently mitigate that threat, and to ensure humane treatment.
As directed by the president’s Jan. 22, 2009, executive order, the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force conducted a comprehensive review of these cases. As a result of those reviews, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, Atef and Al-Dhuby were unanimously approved for transfer nearly six years ago by the six departments and agencies comprising the task force.
The United States is taking all possible steps to reduce the detainee population at Guantanamo and to close the detention facility in a responsible manner. While our policy preference is to repatriate detainees to their home countries where we can do so consistent with our national security and humane treatment policies, under certain circumstances the most viable transfer option is resettlement in a third country. Of the 133 detainees who have been transferred from Guantanamo during this Administration, 82 have been resettled in third countries.
We remain very appreciative of the assistance of our friends and allies who have stepped up to accept detainees for resettlement. We appreciate this generous humanitarian action by our partner, the Republic of Ghana. The closure of Guantanamo is a goal shared by many governments around the world. Today, 105 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay.