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Oman accepts 10 Guantanamo detainees at the request of U.S.
Ten former inmates of the U.S. detention facility in Cuba's Guantanamo Bay have been transferred to Oman for "humanitarian reasons," where they will temporarily resided, the Omani Foreign Ministry announced Monday.
The transfer is part of a last minute effort by the Obama administration to resettle as many as 19 inmates to Saudi Arabia, Oman, United Arab Emirates and even Italy before the end of its term.
President Obama had promised on his 2009 inauguration to close the facility opened by his predecessor and once housing around 700 inmates accused of terrorism charges.
Congress stymied Obama's efforts, however, by refusing to allow any inmates be transferred to U.S. soil, forcing the search for countries abroad to take them. Under Obama, 179 prisoners were resettled.
The statement by the Omani Foreign Ministry said that the men released from Guantanamo would "temporarily reside" in the country.
The move was in response to a request by the U.S. government and "out of consideration for their humanitarian situation."
The statement did not identify the prisoners names or nationalities.
There has been no official announcement by the U.S. government about the transfer, and the U.S. embassy in Muscat, Oman said it was not authorized to address the query.
An estimated 40 inmates will remain in the facility, which President-elect Donald Trump has pledged he would keep open and "load it up with some bad dudes."
The detention facility, which operates outside the U.S. legal framework, has long been criticized by human rights and legal experts.
Prisoners first arrived in Guantanamo in January 2002 and it became a depository for those accused of plotting terrorism against the United States.
But 16 years later, even the main suspects in the 9/11 attack, including mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, have yet to be tried.
[Source: By Paul Schemm, The Washington Post, 16Jan17]
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