US & Canada

US to transfer dozen Guantanamo inmates to at least two countries

A U.S. Army soldier stands at the entrance to Camp Delta where detainees from the U.S. war in Afghanistan live April 7, 2004 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Obama administration is seeking to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

The Pentagon plans to move roughly a dozen inmates from the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to at least two countries.

The transfers come as the Obama administration takes steps to close the controversial facility, which has been called a recruiting tool for jihadists.

The prisoners are expected to leave Guantanamo in the coming weeks.

However, the military did not disclose the prisoners' destinations.

Tariq Ba Odah, a Yemeni man who has been on a long-term hunger strike, is among the prisoners being transferred, an official told Reuters.

About 91 detainees currently remain at Guantanamo, down from about 800 in 2002.

President Barack Obama has said he wants to transfer the men to their home countries or to military or civilian prisons in the United States.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption About 90 prisoners remain at the facility

Guantanamo Bay is located on an American naval base in south-eastern Cuba. Former US President George W Bush opened it to accommodate foreign terror suspects after the 9/11 attacks on the US.

One of the key complaints from human rights groups is that many detainees have been held there without charge or trial.

Mr Obama says the prison costs about $445m (£316m) to run annually and it represents a threat to national security.

However, some Republicans in Congress have resisted the closure of Guantanamo, saying the inmates are dangerous and do not belong in civilian prisons.

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