Three Guantanamo Bay prison detainees have been flown to the nation of Georgia and handed over to the Tblisi government, the Justice Department announced Tuesday. U.S. officials did not identify those released, or say whether they expected the three men to be released by Georgian authorities.
The transfer reduces to 183 the number of prisoners still detained at Guantanamo more than two months after President Barack Obama's self-imposed deadline to close the facility. One of those remaining is Mohammmed Oul Slahi, whom a federal judge Monday ordered released.
Judge James Robinson stunned prosecutors when he ruled Slahi should be freed. He is described in court documents as a known al Qaeda operative who, according to the 9/11 Commission, had provided assistance to three of the 9/11 suicide hijackers.
Government officials said they were reviewing the case to determine whether to appeal the ruling. In the meantime, they will continue to hold Slahi. Although Slahi's native Mauritania has charges pending against him, U.S. officials have indicated they may have to keep and eventually charge Slahi if they can't find a suitable destination for him.
He is among the longest-held captives. He was captured in Mauritania in late 2001.