Two Tunisians from Guantanamo sent to Italy for trial

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Two Tunisians held at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been sent to Italy where they will face prosecution, American and Italian authorities said.
 
Abel Ben Mabrouk bin Hamida Boughanmi and Mohammed Tahir Riyadh Nasseri were handed over to the Italian authorities where they face arrest warrants, the US Justice Department said. Authorities did not describe the pending charges.
 
"Both the detainees are the subject of detention orders by Italian judicial authorities and they will be put on trial in Italy," the Italian Justice Ministry said in a statement.
 
Nasseri was captured in Afghanistan and Boughanmi was caught on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Both men previously lived in Italy and have been held at the Guantanamo prison for more than seven years.
 
The Italian Justice Ministry said that the transfer was done as part of an agreement signed in September by Italian Justice Minister Angelino Alfano and US Attorney General Eric Holder and it underscored Italy’s commitment to help close Guantanamo.
 
In Italy, Nasseri is accused along with eight other people of criminal association, aiding illegal immigration and terrorism charges stemming from 1997-2001, the ANSA news agency reported.
 
The ANSA news agency said he was accused of organizing in Afghanistan the logistics for fighters coming from Italy to be trained in camps "where they were trained in the use of weapons and in preparation for suicide attacks."
 
 
213 detainees remain at Guantanamo
 
 
Nasseri was described as the head of the Tunisians in Afghanistan "from where he maintained constant relations with the structures in Italy and Milan," the indictment said according to ANSA.
 
ANSA said Boughanmi lived in Italy before travelling to Afghanistan in early 2001 and received an arrest warrant in 2005. A Milan barber, he has been accused by Italian authorities of international terrorism, forgery of documents, aiding and abetting illegal immigration, drug trafficking and robbery.
 
The transfers leave 213 detainees at the controversial Guantanamo facility. President Barack Obama has pledged to close Guantanamo by Jan. 22, but has acknowledged that his deadline will likely be missed because of political and diplomatic hurdles.
 
The prison was set up in 2002 to house terrorism suspects but has drawn international condemnation because of harsh interrogations conducted there. Obama officials argue it has been used by anti-American militants for recruiting purposes.
 
Some 90 detainees have been cleared to be transferred from Guantanamo. Another subset of the prisoners, including plotters of the Sept. 11, 2001 and USS Cole attacks are to be tried in US criminal and military courts.
 
Obama administration officials have had trouble convincing other countries to take detainees because Obama has been limited by the US Congress to bringing detainees into the United States.
 
Before this latest transfer, the Obama administration had sent 25 prisoners abroad. One detainee has been moved to New York to face charges in US criminal court so far.
 
Earlier this month, Holder said five accused plotters of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks held at Guantanamo would be tried in US criminal courts and another five detainees would face US military trials.