US guard at the military-run Camp Delta prison in Guantanamo Bay
The U.S. Defense Department has announced that two detainees held at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba have been transferred.
Officials issued a statement Wednesday saying that one detainee was sent to Algeria and the other to Sudan. The statement said the detainees were determined to be eligible for transfer following a comprehensive series of review processes.
Word of the transfers comes one day after a U.S. federal judge ordered the release into the United States of 17 Chinese Muslims who were detained at Guantanamo.
A White House spokeswoman said the order to release the group of ethnic Uighurs by Friday is contrary to U.S. immigration laws. She said the Department of Justice will immediately seek to reverse the decision in a court of appeals.
The Pentagon says U.S. officials are in the lengthy process of finding countries to take them under acceptable conditions, including assurances they will not be tortured or otherwise mistreated. Officials say it sometimes takes months or years to make the arrangements for such a transfer.
The Bush administration has denied Beijing's requests to repatriate the 17 Uighurs, because they are considered terrorists by China. Rights groups say the Uighurs might be tortured if they returned.
China's Foreign Ministry says the men belong to the East Turkistan Islamic Movement. The United States and the United Nations have labeled that group a terrorist organization.
The U.S. government cleared the Uighurs for release in 2004 and has tried unsuccessfully to resettle them. The 17 are no longer considered "enemy combatants."
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.