UAE accepts 5 Yemeni Gitmo detainees

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UAE accepts 5 Yemeni Gitmo detainees
A US trooper stands in the turret of a vehicle with a machine gun, left, as a guard looks out from a tower at the detention facility of Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base in Cuba.

Dubai - Four of them were captured by Pakistani forces after fleeing from Afghanistan in late 2001.


Bernd Debusmann Jr.

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Published: Mon 16 Nov 2015, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 18 Nov 2015, 7:44 AM

Five Yemeni detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba have been transferred to the UAE, the US Department of Defence (DOD) announced on Sunday.
According to declassified DOD documents, four of the men - Ali Ahmad Muhammad Al Razihi, Khalid Abd Al Jabbar Mohammed Uthman Al Qadasi, Adil Said Al Hajj Ubayd Al Busays and Sulayman Awad bin Uqayl Al Nahdi - were captured by Pakistani forces after fleeing from Afghanistan in late 2001.
The fifth, Fahmi Salem Said Al Asani, surrendered to Afghan forces after being wounded in a US bombing raid around the same time. It is the first time the UAE has taken in foreign nationals held at Guantanamo.
All five men were being held as "enemy combatants", but none of them had been formally charged with a crime.
The release comes after a recommendation of transfer was made by the Guantanamo Bay Review Task Force comprising six different government agencies and departments, with four of the men being approved for transfer in 2009 and the fifth in April 2014.
Thanking the UAE for its support, the defence department stated: "The United States is grateful to the government of the UAE for its willingness to support ongoing US efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The United States coordinated with the Government of the UAE to ensure these transfers took place with appropriate security and humane treatment measures."
With the release, a total of 107 detainees remain at the facility in Guantanamo Bay. Among them are Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a Pakistani national accused of being the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks; Abu Zubaydah, an alleged senior member of Al Qaeda and trusted lieutenant of Osama bin Laden; and Abd Al Rahim Al Nashiri, who US officials believe planned the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000.
The facility once held almost 800 prisoners. Since the first detainee arrived at the detention facility in January 2002, citizens of 49 countries have been held there.
A total of 664 detainees have since been repatriated or transferred to 55 countries, including 129 under the Obama administration. In addition to the five detainees transferred to the UAE, 15 other detainees have been transferred this year, 10 of whom went to Oman.
Despite stiff opposition from American lawmakers, President Barack Obama has repeatedly said he remains determined to close the Guantanamo Bay facility - which was one of the major promises of his first electoral campaign.
"We have long expressed our disappointment at the repeated effort by Congress to impede the closing of the prison at Guantanamo Bay. The president believes closing that prison is a national security priority," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said at a Press conference last week.
"There are a range of former secretaries of state who have served both Democratic and Republican presidents who have said that it would be clearly in the best interest of our country to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay," he added.
A comprehensive plan from the Department of Defence on the closure of Guantanamo Bay is expected to be released soon.

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