The United States has transferred six Yemeni prisoners held for more than a decade at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay to Oman for resettlement, the Pentagon announced Saturday. The transfer marks the first movement of detainees out of the infamous prison in five months, as well as the latest step by U.S. President Barack Obama in his push to close the detention facility.
While Obama continues to face challenges from lawmakers in his efforts to close the Guantanamo prison in Cuba, the fresh transfer brings down the facility’s inmate population to 116. The U.S. president has so far relocated more than half of the 242 detainees held at Guantanamo since he took office in 2009, the Associated Press (AP) reported, adding that the six prisoners boarded a flight from the U.S. prison on Friday.
“The Department of Defense announced today the transfer of Idris Ahmad ‘Abd Al Qadir Idris, Sharaf Ahmad Muhammad Mas’ud, Jalal Salam Awad Awad, Saa’d Nasser Moqbil Al Azani, Emad Abdallah Hassan, and Muhammad Ali Salem Al Zarnuki from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to Oman,” the Defense Department said in a statement. “The United States is grateful to the Government of Oman for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.”
The announcement came a week after U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said that he was coordinating with the White House to prepare a proposal for the Congress on shutting the Guantanamo Bay prison, where most inmates allegedly have been held without being charged, Reuters reported.
Hassan, one of the six new transfers, held in 2002 without any charges, has been on hunger strikes since 2007, protesting his detention. He said in a court filing that authorities force Guantanamo prisoners to have huge amounts of nutrient and water at a time, the AP reported.
A recently released testimony by a Guantanamo Bay detainee from Pakistan revealed that last year's Senate report on torture inside the prison did not cover all forms of abuse used by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. The detainee reportedly said that interrogators poured ice water on his genitals, videotaped him naked, hung him from a wooden pole, and repeatedly touched his “private parts.”
In February, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee from Australia claimed that he was still suffering from the physical injuries inflicted on him during his detention. He also demanded compensation for the “physical and psychological torture” he claimed to have suffered there for five years.