WASHINGTON — GOP lawmakers are asking for a freeze on transfers from Guantanamo Bay and more information about past transfers after one detainee released to Uruguay went missing and another was named a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the State Department.
As Congress blocks President Obama’s efforts to close the prison facility, the White House is trying to quickly deplete Gitmo’s population. The transfer of two detainees to Serbia was announced Monday, bringing the population down to 76. There were 242 terror suspects at Guantanamo when Obama took office.
On Wednesday, the State Department issued the designations of Aslan Avgazarovich Byutukaev, the ISIS leader in Chechnya, and Ayrat Nasimovich Vakhitov, a Tatar fighter from Russia.
“Vakhitov is associated with Jaysh al-Muhajirin Wal Ansar, a group that was designated by the U.S. Department of State as a SDGT under Executive Order 13224. Vakhitov has also used the internet to recruit militants to travel to Syria,” the State Department said.
Vakhitov was released to Russia along with six of his countrymen in 2004. The Russians later released the former detainees. Vakhitov threatened afterward that he would sue the U.S. for torture at Gitmo.