MIAMI – The Pentagon on Monday sent two long-held Tunisian captives from Guantanamo to trials in Italy, the Obama administration’s first outsourced prosecutions of detainees from the prison camps to a third country.
The latest transfers downsized the detainee population at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba to 213 as part of a continuing trend by Europe to assist U.S. efforts to close the camps.
Tunisians Abel Ben Mabrouk bin Hamida Boughanmi, 39, and Mohammed Tahir Riyadh Nasseri, 43, were “the subject of outstanding arrest warrants in Italy and will be prosecuted there,” a Justice Department statement said.
Both men were flown from the remote U.S. Navy base to a Milan airport and put into immediate custody.
A Justice Department announcement said the two men were sent under an agreement negotiated in September between Attorney General Eric Holder and Italy’s Justice Minister Angelino Alfano.
It also declared the United States’ gratitude “to the government of Italy for helping achieve President Barack Obama’s directive to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.”