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5 Gitmo Prisoners Sent to Kazakhstan

5 Gitmo Prisoners Sent to Kazakhstan5 Gitmo Prisoners Sent to Kazakhstan

Three Yemenis and two Tunisians held for more than a decade at the US military prison at Guantanamo have been flown to Kazakhstan for resettlement, the Pentagon said on Tuesday, the latest in a series of prisoner transfers aimed at closing the facility.

The transfer of the five men followed a recent pledge by President Barack Obama for a stepped-up push to shut the internationally condemned detention center at the US naval base in Cubawhere most prisoners have been held without being charged or tried.

The US government has moved 28 prisoners out of Guantanamo this year – the largest number since 2009 – and a senior US official said the quickened pace would continue with further transfers expected in coming weeks, according to Reuters.

Kazakhstan’s acceptance of the five followed extensive negotiations, the official said. Though the oil-rich central Asian state is an ally of Russia, it has cultivated areas of economic and diplomatic cooperation with the West.

The men sent to Kazakhstan, a majority-Muslim country, were identified as low-risk detainees cleared long ago for transfer. With their removal from Guantanamo just before the new year, the detainee population has been whittled down to 127.

More than half of the remaining Guantanamo detainees are from Yemen, but Washington is unable to send them home because of the chaotic security situation there.

Obama continues to face obstacles posed by Congress to the goal of emptying the prison before he leaves office, not least of which is a ban on transfer of prisoners to the US mainland.

All five men were detained on suspicion of links to al Qaeda or allied groups, but the US official said investigations had determined they “could be described as low-level, if even that.”

Other countries that have accepted Guantanamo detainees for resettlement this year include Uruguay, Georgia and Slovakia.

The prison was opened by Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States to house militant suspects rounded up overseas.

 

Financialtribune.com