5 Guantánamo Detainees Transferred to United Arab Emirates

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GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA - OCTOBER 28: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been reviewed by U.S. Military prior to transmission)  A group of detainees kneels during an early morning Islamic prayer in their camp at the U.S. military prison for "enemy combatants" on October 28, 2009 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Although U.S. President Barack Obama pledged in his first executive order last January to close the infamous prison within a year's time, the government has been struggling to try the accused terrorists and to transfer them out ahead of the deadline. Military officials at the prison point to improved living standards and state of the art medical treatment available to detainees, but the facility's international reputation remains tied to the "enhanced interrogation techniques" such as waterboarding employed under the Bush administration. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Obama wants to close the prison before he leaves office. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The prisoner population at Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba is down to 107 after the United States transferred five detainees to the United Arab Emirates. The men — Ali Ahmad Muhammad al-Razihi, Khalid Abd-al-Jabbar Muhammad Uthman al-Qadasi, Adil Said al-Haj Ubayd al-Busayss, Sulayman Awad Bin Uqayl al-Nahdi, and Fahmi Salem Said al-Asani — are all Yemeni, and had been held for 14 years without being charged with a crime, according to the New York Times.

The men were first recommended for transfer in 2009, but the repatriation of detainees to Yemen — the home of most of those cleared for release — has proven difficult due to the unrest there. The nation has taken only one detainee, a Yemeni citizen in 2008, and in recent years the Obama administration has focused on resettling members of that group in other countries.

Nine detainees have been transferred since September, and there are reportedly as many as 17 transfers of lower-level detainees in the works. President Obama has said repeatedly that he wants to fulfill his campaign promise to close Guantánamo Bay, and he’s expected to present Congress with his plan for relocating the detainees too dangerous to transfer in the coming weeks.