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US Preparing to Transfer More Prisoners From Guantanamo Bay

  • VOA News

FILE - Dawn breaks at the now closed Camp X-Ray, used as the first detention facility for suspected militants captured after the Sept. 11 attacks, at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.

FILE - Dawn breaks at the now closed Camp X-Ray, used as the first detention facility for suspected militants captured after the Sept. 11 attacks, at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.

U.S. military officials have informed Congress that they plan to transfer about a dozen inmates from the terrorist detention facility at the naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The officials, who spoke to news outlets on condition of anonymity, say at least two countries have agreed to accept the detainees. One of detainees set to be transferred is Tariq Ba Odah, a 37-year-old Yemeni national who has been force-fed daily since staging a hunger strike in 2007. He now weighs just 33 kilograms, a loss of about half of his original weight.

Ba Odah is one of 91 detainees still being held at Guantanamo, which opened under former President George W. Bush to hold suspected terrorists caught in the U.S.-led war on terrorists in Afghanistan. About 37 of those detainees have been approved for resettlement in a third country, including Ba Odah.

The first of the transfers could take place in the next few days, with the rest occurring during the coming weeks.

The Guantanamo facility has been criticized both in the United States and abroad as a symbol of human rights abuses for indefinitely holding prisoners without trial. President Barack Obama has vowed to close the Guantanamo detention facility since first taking office, but his efforts have been opposed by Congress.

The president has submitted a plan to Congress to close the facility that includes transferring several detainees to maximum-security federal prisons in the United States, but Congress has imposed a ban on such transfers.

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