[JURIST] The US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] on Wednesday announced the transfer of five Guantanamo [JURIST backgrounder] detainees. Four of the men went to Oman and one to Estonia [press releases], the first time each nation accepted Guantanamo prisoners for resettlement. Their release is the latest effort of the Obama administration [official website] to expedite the closing [JURIST report] of the detention center. The five men were captured in Pakistan and detained by the US as suspected Al Qaeda fighters. There are now 122 prisoners at Guantanamo, 54 of whom have been cleared for transfer.
The acceleration of the closure of Guantanamo Bay is a part of the administration’s attempt to fulfill campaign promises made by President Barack Obama in 2008, despite restrictions in the latest defense spending bill [JURIST report]. Last month the DOD announced the release of five prisoners to Kazakhstan and the repatriation of four Guantanamo detainees to Afghanistan [JURIST reports]. Earlier in December the Pentagon announced the transfer [JURIST report] of six detainees from Guantanamo to Uruguay. This move is the result of a 2009 Executive Order issued by Barack Obama instructing the Guantanamo Bay Review Force to review these cases. In November five detainees were released [JURIST report] to their respective home countries of Georgia and Slovakia. Also in November the Pentagon announced the the release [JURIST report] of Fouzi Khalid Abdullah Al Awda from the detention facilities after nearly 13 years of imprisonment without a trial.