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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration transferred a detainee from the controversial U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Belgium, the Justice Department said on Friday.
The department did not identify the detainee transferred out of Guantanamo at the request of the Belgian government. There are still 221 prisoners at the detention facility with President Barack Obama's January 2010 deadline to close it looming.
The administration also confirmed that it had transferred a Kuwaiti, Khaled Al Mutairi, back to his home country from Guantanamo. His lawyer and a Kuwaiti group had announced his return home on Thursday.
He had been taken into custody in 2001 and the U.S. government had accused him of being a member of al Qaeda and the Taliban, a charge his lawyers denied.
The transfers bring the total number moved out of the prison to 20 since Obama took office in January. On his second day as president he pledged to close the facility, which had been opened in 2002 to house terrorism suspects caught after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
The prison has been condemned worldwide for harsh interrogations that took place there and administration officials have argued that it serves as a recruiting symbol for militant groups like al Qaeda.
(Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky, editing by Eric Beech)