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US Sends Guantanamo Prisoners to Bulgaria, Spain

Date: 05.05.2010

US government has announced it has sent two former Guantanamo prisoners to Bulgaria and Spain.

"The identities of the individuals are being withheld for security and privacy reasons at the request of the governments of Bulgaria and Spain," the Pentagon said in a statement Tuesday.

"The United States is very grateful to the governments of Bulgaria and Spain for their willingness to support U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility," the US Defense Department declared.

It is still unclear whether any of the two men was among the Guantanamo prisoners that US federal judges ordered they should be freed.

Even before the Pentagon statement, Spain’s Foreign Minister had announced on Tuesday that it had accepted a former Guantanamo inmate, a Yemeni national, for resettlement. The man will be allowed to live and work in Spain, and will not be facing any prosecution on terrorism charges.

The Bulgarian authorities have not provided any information yet with respect to the identity and the status of the former Guantanamo prisoner that the country has accepted.

At the beginning of April, information leaked to the Bulgarian media said that had the Bulgarian government agreed to resettle a 38-year-old Syrian-born ethnic Kurd named Masum Abda Mohammed, who had been held in Guantánamo since the earliest days of the prison camps complex.

Masum spent nearly eight years at the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay on charges of being part of the Osama bin Laden group, fighting in the Tora Bora mountains. The accusation goes on to say that his name featured on a list of people, who had received training in shooting with a sniper and planting explosives.

Masum however argues that throughout his life he has shot no more than seven bullets during his training for a policeman in Syria and has been mistaken for a man, nicknamed Bilal. He claims to have gone to Afghanistan, searching for a wife, as the price there is ten times lower than in Syria, the report says.

Bulgaria decided at the end of last year to accept one detainee from the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, responding positively to Washington request to house prisoners and as a strong gesture of cooperation between Europe and the US.

The Guantanamo prisoner will enjoy a humanitarian status in Bulgaria, which means he will not be put behind bars, but will be treated as a refugee.

With the unloading of two more Guantanamo prisoners to Bulgaria and Spain, the total number of inmates is reduced to 181.

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