[JURIST] The Foreign Ministry [official website] of Oman on Thursday reported [statement, in Arabic] that 10 Yemeni detainees from Guantanamo Bay arrived temporarily to Oman. The US Department of Defense later confirmed the move [press release]. On Monday human rights experts from the UN and the Organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) [official website] jointly sent an open letter urging [JURIST report] the US government to shut down the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay on its fourteenth anniversary. The letter mentioned the recent steps taken by the Obama administration [official website] to close the facility, but noted that many prisoners still remain at Guantanamo without trial outside the reach of US law. With Thursday’s transfers, that number now stands at 93.
The Obama administration has promised to close Guantanamo but has struggled due to Congressional opposition to relocating detainees to the US, as well as the slow process of transferring prisoners to other countries. White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough told Fox News Sunday that President Barack Obama intends to fulfill [JURIST report] his promise to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility before leaving office. There have been multiple detainees released from Guantanamo recently, following reports that 17 were scheduled for release this month [JURIST report]. In November the US Senate passed [JURIST report] the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (NDAA) [text, PDF], which prohibits Guantanamo detainees from being transferred into the US. Obama signed the bill into law, despite the fact that it could delay his plan to close the prison. The NDAA comes after the Department of Defense said [JURIST report] they were sending teams to review three Colorado prisons as part of Obama’s efforts to close the facility in October. The Guantanamo Review Task Force (GRTF) was created in response to a 2009 presidential executive order [text, PDF] to review the status of all detainees. In September White House Spokesperson Josh Earnest said Obama was considering a “wide array” of options [JURIST report] for closing the prison.