Media Contact 202-225-5021

Royce First Raised Concerns About Transfers to Uruguay in 2015

Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) released the following statement in response to reports that a former Guantanamo Bay detainee transferred to Uruguay has gone missing in neighboring Brazil:

“The Obama administration is pushing dangerous detainees to countries that it knows can’t handle them.  We’ve seen it across the globe, from Afghanistan, an active war zone, to Ghana, a country with limited security resources.  And now, in Uruguay, a dangerous jihadist has gone missing in neighboring to Brazil. 

“The administration needs to stop ignoring its own security assessments of the countries accepting these detainees.  In light of today’s alarming news, the administration should halt any future transfers.  Already, we know that one-third of former detainees have returned — or attempted to return — to the battlefield and up to 14 have killed Americans. Rushing to release more dangerous terrorists will not make America safer.” 

NOTE: Following the administration’s release of six detainees to Uruguay in 2014, Chairman Royce expressed his concerns about the transfer in a letter to Secretary Kerry.  After a firsthand assessment by Committee staff, it was found that the Obama administration sent the President of Uruguay a letter stating that none of the six detainees had ever been involved in facilitating or conducting terrorist activities – despite clear information to the contrary.  This letter bolstered the Uruguayan government’s argument to not monitor the six detainees.

According to news reports, at least 26 more detainees are scheduled to be released by the end of this summer.  Chairman Royce recently introduced H.R. 4580, the Terrorist Release Transparency Act, to ensure the American people and our foreign partners have access to critical details before terrorists are released from the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

###