U.S. To Switch four Guantanamo Bay Detainees To Saudi Arabia

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U.S. To Switch four Guantanamo Bay Detainees To Saudi Arabia

WASHINGTON, Jan four (Reuters) – The USA will switch 4 detainees to Saudi Arabia from the Guantanamo Bay navy jail within the subsequent 24 hours, U.S. officers stated on Wednesday, in President Barack Obama’s ultimate push to shrink the inmate inhabitants there regardless of strain from the president-elect to halt such releases.

Will probably be the primary in Obama’s ultimate flurry of transfers geared toward sending as many as 19 prisoners to at the very least 4 international locations, together with Italy, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, earlier than Donald Trump is sworn in on Jan. 20.

If the ultimate transfers go in line with plan, solely about 40 prisoners will stay at Guantanamo, regardless of Obama’s pledge to shut the controversial facility on the U.S. naval base in Cuba.

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The Republican president-elect has vowed, nevertheless, to maintain the Guantanamo navy jail open and “load it up with some unhealthy dudes.”

The Obama administration notified Congress final month of its intention to make the extra transfers, Reuters has reported. These being transferred make up the majority of the 23 prisoners declared in parole-style hearings to be protected for repatriation or resettlement in different international locations.

Trump on Tuesday signaled his view that every one of these held at Guantanamo ought to stay, regardless of prolonged inter-agency opinions that deemed lots of them eligible to go away.

“There ought to be no additional releases from Gitmo,” he tweeted. “These are extraordinarily harmful folks and shouldn’t be allowed again onto the battlefield.”

The White Home dismissed Trump’s objections and stated transfers from Guantanamo, opened by former President George W. Bush to carry terrorism suspects rounded up abroad following the Sept. 11, 2001 assaults, would proceed till Trump takes workplace.

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“We count on that there might be extra transfers,” stated White Home spokeswoman Emily Horne. “We don’t touch upon the progress of particular person detainee transfers till they’re accomplished.”

The 2 U.S. officers, who spoke on situation of anonymity, have been unable to supply the nationalities of the prisoners who have been headed to Saudi Arabia. Final April, the desert kingdom – one of many prime U.S. allies within the area – accepted 9 Yemenis below a long-negotiated deal between Washington and Riyadh.

Of the 59 prisoners remaining at Guantanamo earlier than the most recent switch, 10 face prices in navy commissions, together with alleged plotters of the Sept. 11 assaults, whereas about two dozen haven’t been charged however have been deemed too harmful to launch.

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Obama, who inherited 242 detainees at Guantanamo Bay when he took workplace in 2009 and has known as it a “recruiting instrument” for terrorists, has slowly whittled the quantity downward.

Beneath Bush, the jail got here to represent aggressive detention practices that opened the USA to accusations of torture.

Obama’s efforts to shut the jail have been blocked by largely Republican opposition in Congress, which has barred him from transferring any prisoners to the U.S. mainland. Foot-dragging by Pentagon officers has additionally been blamed for slowing transfers.

Administration officers have additionally made clear that Obama has no intention of resorting to the legally dangerous possibility of utilizing government motion to shut the jail earlier than leaving workplace.