47751
A guard tower stands at the perimeter of Camp Delta in the Guantanamo Bay detention center on March 30, 2010. (File Photo)
A guard tower stands at the perimeter of Camp Delta in the Guantanamo Bay detention center on March 30, 2010. (File Photo)

US Sends 15 Guantanamo Detainees to UAE

Obama has been seeking to close the detention center amid opposition from Congress, which has prohibited transferring detainees to the US for any reason. The administration has been working with other countries to resettle detainees cleared for transfer

US Sends 15 Guantanamo Detainees to UAE

Fifteen prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention center were sent to the UAE in the single largest release of detainees by the administration of US President Barack Obama, the Pentagon announced on Monday.
The transfer of 12 Yemeni nationals and three Afghans to the UAE comes amid a renewed push to whittle down the number of detainees held at the US prison in Cuba that Obama aims to close, AP reported.
The Pentagon says 61 detainees now remain at Guantanamo, which was opened in January 2002 to hold foreign fighters suspected of links to the Taliban or the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization. During the Bush administration, 532 prisoners were released from Guantanamo, often in large groups to Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia.
The latest batch of released prisoners had also been held without charge at Guantanamo, some for over 14 years. They were cleared for release by the Periodic Review Board, comprised of representatives from six US government agencies.
The UAE successfully resettled five detainees transferred there last year, according to the Pentagon.
Lee Wolosky, the State Department’s special envoy for Guantanamo’s closure, said the US was grateful to the UAE for accepting the latest group of 15 men and helping pave the way for the detention center’s closure.
“The continued operation of the detention facility weakens our national security by draining resources, damaging our relationships with key allies and partners, and emboldening violent extremists,” Wolosky said.
In the UAE, the state-run WAM news agency had no reports on the Guantanamo transfers on Tuesday and UAE officials declined to immediately comment on the Pentagon announcement.
Sign of Guantanamo’s Impending Closure
Obama has been seeking to close the detention center amid opposition from Congress, which has prohibited transferring detainees to the US for any reason. The administration has been working with other countries to resettle detainees who have been cleared for transfer.
Naureen Shah, Amnesty International USA’s director of national security and human rights, said the transfers announced on Monday are a “powerful sign that President Obama is serious about closing Guantanamo before he leaves office.”
US Rep. Ed Royce, a Republican from California who is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, criticized the Obama administration for recent releases, portraying the freed detainees as “hardened terrorists”.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence says 5% of Guantanamo prisoners released since Obama took office have reengaged in militant activities and an additional 8% are suspected of doing so. That compares with 21% confirmed and 14% suspected during the Bush administration.
According to Amnesty, one of the Afghans released to the UAE alleged that he was “tortured and subjected to other cruel treatment” while in US military custody. The man, identified only as Obaidullah, was captured by US special forces in July 2002 and allegedly admitted to acquiring and planting anti-tank mines to target US and other coalition forces in eastern Afghanistan.
In clearing him for transfer, the review board said he has not expressed any anti-US sentiment or intent to reengage in militant activities. However, a Pentagon profile from last year also said he provided little information and they had little “insight into his current mindset”.
One of the Yemeni men sent to the UAE was identified as Zahir Umar Hamis bin Hamdun, who the Pentagon alleged traveled to Afghanistan in 1999 and after training at a camp acted as a weapons and explosives trainer.
A Pentagon profile from September 2015 said he expressed dislike of the US, which they identified as “an emotion that probably is motivated more by frustration over his continuing detention than by a commitment to global militancy”.
Returning Guantanamo prisoners back to Yemen would be difficult amid a two-year civil war raging in the Arab world’s most impoverished country. The conflict there pits an internationally recognized government, backed by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia, a Sunni powerhouse, against Shia fighters known as Houthis and their allies.
There was also no immediate reaction in Afghanistan on the transfer of the three Afghans from Guantanamo to the UAE.

Short URL : http://goo.gl/jxrCSS
  1. http://goo.gl/uccHNA
  • http://goo.gl/WUhU7F
  • http://goo.gl/lmGZ90
  • http://goo.gl/dcISQt
  • http://goo.gl/qJDzOT

You can also read ...

Tensions Rise in Iraq Ahead of Kurdish Secession Vote
Hundreds demonstrated in eastern Iraq against a planned...
Saudi King to Visit Russia
The visit of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz to Russia will be...
Renewed Tensions Between US and North Korea
North Korea said on Saturday targeting the US mainland with...
UN Medics See Evidence of Rape in Myanmar Army’s Cleansing of Rohingya
Doctors treating some of the 429,000 Rohingya Muslims who have...
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) and outside linebacker Eli Harold (58) kneel during the playing of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta on Dec. 18, 2016.
US President Donald Trump is embracing an “us versus them”...
Car Bomber Targets NATO Convoy in Afghanistan
At least three civilians were wounded when a suicide car bomb...
Merkel Wins Fourth Term as Far-Right Enters German Parliament
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives beat their rivals on...

Trending

Googleplus