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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 1177-06
November 17, 2006

Detainee Release Announced

The Department of Defense announced today that it released three detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Albania. One of the detainees is an Algerian national, one is an Egyptian national, and one is an ethnic Uzbek who was born in the former Soviet Union.

All three detainees were determined to be “No Longer Enemy Combatants” (NLEC) through a Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT), a review process held at Guantanamo during 2004-2005 to determine classification status of all detainees.

The United States has done the utmost to ensure that these three detainees will be treated humanely upon release. Our key objective has been to resettle these detainees in an environment that will permit them to rebuild their lives. Albania will provide this opportunity.

With today’s release, approximately 110 detainees remain at Guantanamo who the U.S. government has determined eligible for transfer or release through a comprehensive series of review processes. Departure of these remaining detainees approved for transfer or release is subject to ongoing discussions between the United States and other nations. The United States does not desire to hold detainees for any longer than necessary. The department expects that there will continue to be other transfers and releases of detainees.

There are ongoing processes to review the status of detainees held at Guantanamo. A determination about the continued detention or transfer of a detainee is based on the best information and evidence available at the time, both classified and unclassified.

This release increases the number of detainees who have departed Guantanamo this year to approximately 80. Since 2002, approximately 345 detainees have departed Guantanamo for other countries including Albania, Afghanistan, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, and Yemen.

Approximately 430 detainees remain at Guantanamo.

For any questions pertaining to U.S. government discussions with Albania, please refer to the State Department. For any questions pertaining to legal issues involving the detainees, please refer to the Department of Justice.

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