5 Gitmo Inmates Sent to Georgia, Slovakia

5 Gitmo Inmates   Sent to Georgia, Slovakia5 Gitmo Inmates   Sent to Georgia, Slovakia

The United States has transferred five Guantanamo Bay prisoners to Europe as part of efforts to empty and close the controversial US military detention center in Cuba, officials said Thursday.

Three Yemeni prisoners were sent to Georgia, while a fourth Yemeni and a Tunisian were transferred to Slovakia, AFP quoted Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Myles Caggins as saying.

They arrived by plane around 1900 GMT, leaving behind 143 terror suspects at Guantanamo.

The five men -- among them the very first Yemenis to be transferred to Guantanamo in 2010 -- had been cleared for release by President Barack Obama’s administration.

Most of the prisoners still languishing at the US naval base are from Yemen.

The long-delayed closure of the Guantanamo prison has been a contentious issue for years, as it featured prominently in Obama’s 2008 campaign pledges. Yet over the years, little has been done to implement the policy.

Earlier, the commander of Guantanamo Bay military prison has said there is little chance the facility will be closed while he remains in his post – which is until mid-2016.

Col David Heath told reporters he thought it was “an unrealistic hope.”