US suspends Guantanamo to Yemen transfers

US suspends Guantanamo to Yemen transfers
# 05 January 2010 22:11 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. The US has said it is temporarily suspending the transfer of prisoners to Yemen from the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba.
The move comes after it emerged the Nigerian man accused of trying to bomb a US plane on 25 December was allegedly trained by al-Qaeda in Yemen.
More than 80 Yemeni men were due to be moved from Guantanamo Bay, as the US tries to shut down the camp.
Officials fear many could re-join militant groups if sent back to Yemen.
"While we remain committed to closing the facility, the determination has been made that right now, any additional transfers to Yemen are not a good idea," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.
US President Barack Obama has come under pressure to halt Guantanamo transfers to Yemen since investigators said 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had been trained in that country to blow up a transatlantic flight to Detroit on Christmas Day.
It was alleged last week that the bomb plot was planned by two men who were released by the US from Guantanamo Bay in November 2007.
Mohammed Atiq al-Harbi, also known as Mohammed al-Awfi, and Said Ali al-Shihri were sent home to Saudi Arabia, where they were admitted to an "art therapy rehabilitation programme" and later set free, US and Saudi officials said.
Yemenis account for almost half of the nearly 200 detainees who remain at the US military base.
President Obama had pledged to shut the controversial detention centre by 22 January, but admitted last November that deadline had slipped to later in 2010.
His administration has said closing Guantanamo Bay is "essential" in removing a key al-Qaeda recruiting tool.
The US president announced plans last month for many of the detainees to be sent to a prison in the US state of Illinois.
Some will face trials in US criminal or military courts, while others were to be transferred abroad, bbc reports.