[JURIST] The US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] announced [press release] the transfer of 9 Yemeni Guantanamo Bay detainees to Saudi Arabia on Saturday as they continue their efforts to close the facility. They would have sent the prisoners back to their home country but the instability in Yemen made transfer to Saudi Arabia [AP report] inevitable. Eight of the 9 detainees had been cleared for release since 2009, after an extensive review, and 26 more detainees are also cleared and expected to be released this summer. At the end of March, a US government official said the DOD told Congress that it plans to transfer [JURIST report] as many as 12 prisoners from Guantanamo in the coming weeks. Eighty detainees remain at the facility.
In February US President Obama delivered a plan to Congress to close Guantanamo Bay [JURIST report]. In November the US Senate passed [JURIST report] the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (NDAA), 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. In early April, The DOD announced the transfer [JURIST report] of two Guantanamo detainees to Senegal. Libyan nationals Salem Abdu Salam Ghereby, 55, and Omar Khalif Mohammed Abu Baker Mahjour, about 44, were released after being held nearly 14 years without charges.The DOD said [JURIST report] last year they were sending teams to review three Colorado prisons as part of Obama’s efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay prison in October. The Guantanamo Review Task Force was created in response to a 2009 presidential executive order to review the status of all detainees.