U.S. transfers former Guantánamo Bay detainee to Latvia

A former detainee held by U.S. authorities at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base has arrived in Latvia as part of a move by the Obama Administration to close the detention facility.

The person, whose identity was not released to safeguard their privacy, was transferred July 23, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Defense. Latvia’s Cabinet of Ministers agreed to the transfer in February.

The person’s release was approved by the Guantánamo Review Task Force, an interagency body.

The Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in February that the person is from Central Asia and that the person “indicated readiness and interest to be housed in Latvia, as well as to integrate, learn the language and observe Latvia’s laws.”

Spain also took in a former detainee in the July 23 transfer. In all, 176 detainees remain at Guantánamo Bay. The detainees are considered “enemy combatants” in the war on terrorism and many are alleged to be members of al-Qaida and the former Taliban regime in Afghanistan. More than 600 detainees have been sent to other countries since 2002.

Amnesty International commended Latvia’s decision to take in the former detainee, “who could not return to his country of origin for fear of being subjected to torture or other serious human rights violations,” the nonprofit organization announced in press release.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

One thought on “U.S. transfers former Guantánamo Bay detainee to Latvia

  1. Now I understand why US Military was willing to renovate 10 fire stations around Latvia. Take a detainee from Guantanamo and Pres. Obama will have the military repair/upgrade fire stations by an Estonian contractor. This is my opinion.

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