Oman Says It Accepts 10 Guantanamo Bay Inmates at US Request
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Oman said Monday it accepted 10 inmates from the US prison at Guantanamo Bay ahead of US President Barack Obama leaving office, part of his efforts to shrink the facility he promised to close.
There was no immediate word from the US Defense Department about the transfer.
Oman's Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the state-run Oman News Agency that it had accepted the prisoners at Obama's request. It did not name the prisoners.
Omani officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.
The sultanate of Oman, on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, previously accepted 10 Guantanamo prisoners from Yemen in January 2016. Oman also took another six in June 2015.
Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country, remains in the grips of a war and a Saudi-led military offensive against the Houthis - making returning Guantanamo inmates there impossible.
Days earlier, authorities said 19 of the remaining 55 prisoners at the US military base in Cuba were cleared for release and could be freed in the final days of Obama's presidency.
It was part of an effort by Obama to shrink the prison since he couldn't close it.
US President-elect Donald Trump said during his campaign that he not only wants to keep Guantanamo open but "load it up with some bad dudes."
The US began using its military base on southeast Cuba's isolated, rocky coast to hold prisoners captured during the Afghanistan invasion, bringing the first planeload on Jan. 11, 2002, and reaching a peak 18 months later of nearly 680.
There were 242 prisoners when Obama took office in 2009, pledging to close what became a source of international criticism over the mistreatment of detainees and the notion of holding people indefinitely, most without charge.