- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Pentagon has released five Yemeni detainees from a high-security prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and sent them to Oman and Estonia Wednesday night.

Pentagon officials sent four of the men – Al Khadr Abdallah Muhammad Al Yafi, Fadel Hussein Saleh Hentif, Abd Al-Rahman Abdullah Au Shabati, and Mohammed Ahmed Salam – to Oman. Meanwhile, Akhmed Abdul Qadir was sent to Estonia, according to Pentagon spokesman Army Lt. Col. Myles Caggins.

The U.S. government approved the Yemenis for release about five years ago, said Mr. Paul Lewis, Defense Department special envoy for closure of the Guantanamo detention facility. The five men remained at the prison while the Pentagon began developing a plan to transfer the detainees countries to the two countries.

“No transfer occurs before a comprehensive security plan, reintegration plan and human rights assurances are obtained with the designated country,” Lt. Col. Caggins said.

As Yemenis, the men could not return to their home country because U.S. officials feared they would join the terror group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which claimed responsibility Wednesday for the Jan. 7 attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, The Miami Herald reported.

The release of the five detainees brings the population at the Guantanamo Bay prison down to 122 detainees from a one-time high of 780.

Of those 122 detainees, 54 of them are eligible for transfer to another country, Lt. Col. Caggins said.

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