Cairo (Associated Press)-The United Arab Emirates has sent six Yemeni detainees to their home country, Yemen. The families of these people and one detainee were first detained at the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and then detained In the Gulf Arab Federation. Government officials said on Thursday.
The transfer was due to fears that the former detainees might face major dangers in their homes in Yemen, which is basically lawless after years of civil war. Their family members say these people have been detained in the UAE for many years without being charged.
According to Yemeni officials, the six people landed in Hadramau province in eastern Yemen earlier this week. The official said that these detainees received rehabilitation while in the UAE, adding that they will all be released and reunited with their families in the coming weeks.
The official, who asked not to be named, discussed the transfer with the media. He said these people will continue to be monitored by Yemen’s security services.
A UN human rights expert said last year, Forcibly repatriating detainees to Yemen May violate international law. Experts say that once these people return to Yemen, they may face torture or ill-treatment.
The six were among the 19 detainees arrested in Afghanistan and Pakistan after the September 11 attacks—18 Yemenis and one Russian. These 19 people were detained in the UAE between 2015 and 2017, when the United States released them from Guantanamo.
After the release of six people this week, 13 people from the original group are still being held in the UAE.
The continued imprisonment of these individuals violated the promises made by American officials when they were sent to the UAE. In sporadic calls from undisclosed locations in the UAE, several people whispered to their families that life in Guantanamo is as bad as Guantanamo, and they hope they can return there. The Associated Press reported last year. UN experts stated that these people were “arbitrarily detained continuously in a secret location” in the UAE.
The UAE authorities have not yet made public comments on the transfer, and the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Relatives of one of the detainees shared photos of the first emotional meeting between a detainee and his now-adult son and the two hugging. But he and other relatives still worry about the safety of their families. Fearing reprisals, his name and the full names of Yemeni detainees were concealed.
The U.S.-based Center for Law and Justice welcomed the release of the six people detained in the UAE, but urged the Yemeni government to “continue to take care of them with all their strength and help them integrate into society and lead a normal life”.
Yemen is the poorest country in the Arab world and has been ravaged by civil wars since 2014. Torture and arbitrary detention are widespread in secret and formal prison networks run by various factions that control different parts of the country.
Earlier this month, a Moroccan who had been imprisoned in Guantanamo for 19 years was reunited with his family in the North African kingdom and the Yemenis returned. Abdullatif Nasser, 56, is the first detainee in Guantanamo Bay Center to be transferred to the custody of his home country under the leadership of President Joe Biden.
Human rights groups claim that the Guantanamo prison and detention camp opened under President George W. Bush after the 2001 Al-Qaida terrorist attack is a historic mistake in the United States. There were allegations of torture in the early interrogations, and the legitimacy of the military court there was questioned. The Bush administration and supporters say this camp at a US naval base in Cuba is critical to the safe management of international terrorist suspects.
Nearly 800 detainees have passed Guantanamo. A senior government official said that of the remaining 39 people, 10 were eligible to be transferred out, 17 were eligible to pass the review process for possible transfers, and another 10 participated in the military committee process used to prosecute detainees. Man has been convicted. .
The 10 eligible for transfer were from Yemen, Pakistan, Tunisia, Algeria and the UAE.
Associated Press writer Isabel Debre contributed to this story in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.