“They were by turns funny, interested and sometimes angry, and other times pushed beyond despair,” said Gilson, based in New Haven, Connecticut.
U.S. officials thanked Slovakia for accepting the men. “These three resettlements are an important step in implementing President Obama’s directive to close the Guantanamo detention facility,” said Clifford Sloan, Department of State Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure.
The release of the men brings the prisoner population at the U.S. base in Cuba to 155. Obama, who had pledged to close the detention center upon taking office, has renewed the effort to resettle prisoners. Eleven were freed in 2013, including nine in December, and officials have said more are expected.
Of the remaining prisoners, six are on trial for terrorism offenses, including five charged with aiding and planning the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. About 80 have been approved for transfer or resettlement, including nearly 60 from Yemen, which the U.S. has said is too unstable to properly secure them at this time.
“For a long time we were very worried that the Uighurs would still be at Guantanamo when the lights went out years from now,” Dixon said. “Thankfully that’s not the case. It’s increasingly clear that it’s the Yemenis who will still be there when Guantanamo is shuttered.”