[JURIST] Six Guantanamo detainees were transferred [press release] to Oman Saturday, marking the first transfer of detainees from the prison in five months.The Pentagon reports that the six Yemeni men transferred include Emad Abdullah Hassan, held without charge since 2002, Idris Ahmad ‘Abd Al Qadir Idris and Jalal Salam Awad Awad, all accused of being one of many bodyguards to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, as well as Sharaf Ahmad Muhammad Mas’ud, whom the US said fought American soldiers at Tora Bora, Afghanistan, before his capture in Pakistan, Saa’d Nasser Moqbil Al Azani, a religious teacher whom the US believes had ties to bin Laden’s religious adviser, and Muhammad Ali Salem Al Zarnuki, who allegedly arrived in Afghanistan as early as 1998 to fight and support the Taliban. President Barack Obama’s administration has transferred more than half of the 242 detainees held at the prison as part of his campaign to close the facility, but lawmakers have suggested new restrictions on transfers that may lead to further challenges to the president’s initiative.
The acceleration of the closure of Guantanamo [JURIST backgrounder] announced [JURIST report] by the Obama administration in December is a part of the administration’s attempt to fulfill campaign promises made by Obama in 2008. The Department of Defense [official website] announced the repatriation [JURIST report] of four Guantanamo Bay detainees to Afghanistan in December. In November five detainees were released [JURIST report] to their respective home countries of Georgia and Slovakia. Also in November the Pentagon announced the release [JURIST report] of Fouzi Khalid Abdullah Al Awda from the detention facilities after nearly 13 years of imprisonment without a trial.