US transfers six Guantanamo prisoners to Oman
The six prisoners of Yemeni descent were transported to Oman for resettlement. (AFP/File)
The United States has transferred six Yemeni detainees, held at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba for a decade, to Oman for settlement, the Pentagon says.
The detainees boarded a flight from the prison on Friday and arrived in Oman on Saturday.
The six Yemenis were identified as Idris Ahmad Abd al-Qadir Idris, Sharaf Ahmad Muhammad Mas’ud, Jalal Salam Awad Awad, Saa’d Nasser Moqbil al-zani, Emad Abdullah Hassan and Muhammad Ali Salem al- Zarnuki.
Emad Abdullah Hassan has been on hunger strike since 2007 in protest of his confinement without charge since 2002. He said detainees have been force-fed up to a gallon of nutrients and water at a time, according to files protesting force-feeding practices.
"The United States is grateful to the government of Oman for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing US efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility," the Defense Department said in a statement on Saturday.
"The United States coordinated with the government of Oman to ensure these transfers took place consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures," the statement read.
A US administration official said Oman agreed to accept the six detainees about a year ago.
The eleven detainees transferred from the Guantanamo prison so far this year have all been from Yemen. Sixty-nine Yemenis are still being held at the prison, making up more than half of the remaining detainees there.
The transfer brings the number of detainees remained in the prison to 116. It marked the second prisoner transfer from Guantanamo this year. A total of 28 other inmates were also transferred out of the prison in 2014.
The Guantanamo Bay prison at the US naval base in Cuba was established in January 2002 to hold terror suspects captured during the so-called war on terror.
US President Barack Obama had promised to close the prison before his election in 2008, citing its damage to the US reputation abroad. With only a year and half remaining from his second term, the president remains far from delivering on his campaign promise.