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article imageU.S. House bans transfer of Guantanamo detainees to Yemen

By Ken Hanly     Jun 20, 2014 in World
Washington - Yesterday, June 20, the U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment to the 2015 Defense appropriations bill that would in effect ban transfer of any Guantanamo Bay detainees to Yemen.
Republican Representative Jackie Walorski's amendment prohibits the use of any funds to transfer or release Guantanamo detainees to Yemen. Waiorski said it would threaten US national security to release any of those detained to Yemen, He claimed: "The recent release of the Taliban Five was a potent reminder to the American people and Congress of the risk involved in detainee transfer decisions.The security situation in Yemen is fragile and has gone from bad to worse,This helps ensure our homeland is safe from terrorists." The amendment passed by a vote of 238 to 179. Waiorski's amendment was debated for eight minutes. Rep. Peter Visclosky a Democrat said:"I believe that we need to set conditions to close the detention facility at Guantánamo,This includes retaining the option to transfer detainees from this facility elsewhere. ... It is in the U.S.'s national security interest to do so."
Obama had lifted a ban that he himself had imposed on transfers back in May last year. Even at that time some reacted negatively to the change. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.said: "Between December 2009 and today, has Yemen shown any indication that they are more capable of looking after those individuals? Absolutely not, And If we were to transfer those individuals to Yemen, it would be just like turning them loose." Although Obama lifted the ban more than a year ago he has yet to repatriate a single detainee back to Yemen. There have been numerous protests in Yemen demanding that the detainees be released and Yemeni president Hadi has supported the protests and also asked for repatriation of Yemenis. Even two retired generals oppose further restrictions on transfers such as the House amendment imposes. General Joseph P. Hoar, USMC (ret.) and General Charles C. Krulak, USMC (ret.) claim: “Proposals to add additional restrictions or bans on transferring detainees out of Guantanamo are unwise and unnecessary. We recognize and appreciate that there is some risk in transferring individuals from Guantanamo. However, over half of the detainees held at Guantanamo have been unanimously cleared for transfer by the Department of Defense, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, State Department, and Department of Justice. In addition, current law—as agreed to by Congress on a bipartisan basis last year—only allows transfers with a determination by the Secretary of Defense that such transfers are in the national security interest of the United States, and that any risks will be mitigated. Guantanamo continues to serve as a recruiting tool for terrorists and undermine American values. We strongly oppose any proposals to add additional restrictions on transferring detainees out of Guantanamo,”
Detainees sit in the recreation yard. Guantanamo detention center on Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for enemy combatants captured in the global war on terrorism.
Photos by Sgt. Sara Wood, U.S. Army
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