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U.S. Transfers Five Guantanamo Detainees To U.A.E.

  • RFE/RL

The latest transfers come with the Pentagon poised to release a much-anticipated report on shutting down Guantanamo Bay, even as Congress battles to block the transfer of the military prison inmates from Cuba to U.S. soil.

The latest transfers come with the Pentagon poised to release a much-anticipated report on shutting down Guantanamo Bay, even as Congress battles to block the transfer of the military prison inmates from Cuba to U.S. soil.

The United States has released five detainees from Guantanamo Bay and transferred them to the United Arab Emirates.

The Defense Department said in a statement on November 15 that the five Yemeni men were accepted for resettlement in the U.A.E. after U.S. authorities determined they no longer posed a threat.

The Pentagon, in a statement on November 15, said it was "grateful to the government of the United Arab Emirates for its willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility."

The released men, who arrived in the UAE on November 14, were identified as Ali Ahmad Muhammad al-Razihi, Khalid Abd-al-Jabbar Muhammad Uthman al-Qadasi, Adil Said al-Hajj Ubayd al-Busays, Sulayman Awad Bin Uqayl al-Nahdi, and Fahmi Salem Said al-Asani.

The New York Times said the men were "lower-level" Yemeni detainees and each had been held for nearly 14 years without charge.

None of the men had been charged with a crime but had been detained as enemy combatants.

They could not be sent to their homeland because Washington considers Yemen too unstable to accept prisoners from Guantanamo Bay.

The transfer is part of a plan to close down the controversial facility located on a U.S. naval base in Cuba.

The transfer of the five Yemeni men means that 107 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay.

Guantanamo Bay has housed about 780 detainees since the start of 2002.

The latest transfers come with the Pentagon poised to release a much-anticipated report on shutting down Guantanamo Bay, even as Congress battles to block the transfer of the military prison inmates from Cuba to U.S. soil.

U.S. President Barack Obama has been pushing since taking office in 2009 for the closure of the facility, but has faced opposition from Congress.

This year, the Pentagon sent a team of experts to review sites in the United States that could house dozens of the most dangerous detainees following the closure of the facility.

Guantanamo Bay still houses five accused plotters of the September 11, 2001, attacks, including the self-proclaimed mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP
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