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Six Yemenis to be released from Gitmo

Dec. 18, 2009 at 8:00 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- The U.S. government plans to repatriate six Yemenis held at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, military prison, officials said.

The release is the first step in addressing the future of the 97 Yemenis at Guantanamo -- the largest group of detainees at the prison -- and a key element in meeting President Barack Obama's goal of closing the facility, The Washington Post reported Friday.

The six Yemenis, along with four Afghans, will be transferred out of Guantanamo Bay soon, sources told the Post. The release follows months of meetings between Yemeni and U.S. officials and a visit by a top CIA official to Yemen last week.

The transfer will be monitored -- issues have been raised about Yemen's security problems and lack of resources -- and, if successful, could lead to the release of other Yemenis cleared by U.S. officials for release, the Post said.

"It's a breakthrough because the U.S. and Yemen governments have been at an impasse," said David Remes, an attorney for seven Yemeni detainees. "Something has broken the logjam, and that's good, because you can't solve the Guantanamo problem without solving the Yemeni problem."

The identities of the Yemenis were not revealed.

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