Six inmates from Yemen have been released from Guantanamo Bay
June 13, Havana: The white house has confirmed the transfer of six Yemeni prisoners, who had been held Guantanamo Bay detention center to Oman, bringing the number of detainees in Guantanamo to 116, on Saturday.
According to White House, the departures from the prison in Cuba were the first in six months.Though President Barack Obama has been unable to close down Guantanamo Bay as promised during his 2008 election campaign, he has been successful at cutting the number of inmates at the detention center by half. Reports suggest that the men had been cleared to leave for years, but could not be sent back to Yemen because of the country’s instability.
Congress has barred transfers to the US mainland, so the only option left for the authorities is to send prisoners to third countries.In a statement, the Pentagon said the US was “grateful to the government of Oman for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing US efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility”.
It is the second transfer of Guantanamo prisoners this year, after the Pentagon announced in January that four men had been moved to Oman and one to Estonia. The six Yemenis who were flown to Oman on Friday were identified by the Pentagon as Idris Ahmad Abd Al Qadir Idris, Sharaf Ahmad Muhammad Masud, Jalal Salam Awad Awad, Saad Nasser Moqbil Al Azani, Emad Abdallah Hassan and Muhammad Ali Salem Al Zarnuki.
Emad Abdullah Hassan has held repeated hunger strikes in protest against his confinement without charge since 2002.
Correspondents say that President Obama, thwarted by Congress in his efforts to close the prison, has had to rely on only a handful of countries that have agreed to accept detainees.
The Oslo Times and Agencies