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U.S. transfers 2 Guantanamo prisoners to European governments

By Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Producer
Detainees stand during an early morning prayer at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Detainees stand during an early morning prayer at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
  • The French and Hungarian governments received two Guantanamo detainees Tuesday
  • The transfers came several hours after a couple of detainees were sent to Italy
  • There are now 211 detainees who remain at Guantanamo

Washington (CNN) -- Two Guantanamo Bay prisoners, one of them a detainee ordered released by a federal judge last year, were transferred to European governments Tuesday, Justice Department officials said.

Algerian native Sabir Lahmar was flown to Paris, where he is expected to be released by the French government, and an unnamed Palestinian detainee was flown to Hungary.

"The government of Hungary has requested that the detainee's identity be withheld for security and privacy reasons," the Justice Department said. Officials would say only the prisoner was a native of the West Bank.

Lahmar was one of six Algerians handed over to the United States in 2002 on suspicion of involvement in a plot to attack the U.S. Embassy in Bosnia. In 2007, the charges were dropped but the United States said the men were suspected of planning to fight U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Last year, a federal judge in Washington cited lack of evidence when ruling that Lahmar and four of the five others must be released.

Lahmar is the fifth and final member of that group to be flown to freedom. The sixth Algerian, Bensayah Belkacem, remains in custody at Guantanamo. The court ruled he had ties to al Qaeda.

Tuesday's transfers to Paris and Budapest came several hours after the United States announced two other detainees were transferred to Italy, where they will be prosecuted.

The four departures reduce the total number of detainees remaining at Guantanamo to 211.