UAE sends 12 former Guantanamo detainees to Yemen -lawyer, official

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By Reuters
UAE sends 12 former Guantanamo detainees to Yemen -lawyer, official

<div> <p>By Mohamed Ghobari</p> <p><span class="caps">ADEN</span> – The United Arab Emirates has sent 12 Yemenis, initially detained at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. military prison, to Yemen where they are expected to be released, a local official and a lawyer said on Thursday.</p> <p>The men were part of a group of 18 Yemenis and one Russian who were transferred from Guantanamo Bay between 2015 and 2017 to the <span class="caps">UAE</span>, where they remained in detention. </p> <p>They had originally been seized in Afghanistan and Pakistan following the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States. The first six were repatriated to Yemen and released in July. </p> <p>The Yemenis were all held for over a decade without charge or trial. </p> <p>An Emirati military plane carrying the 12 landed in al-Mukalla in the Yemeni southern province of Hadhramout on Wednesday, a Yemeni government official said. </p> <p>The Emirati government did not respond to a request for comment.</p> <p>Abdulrahman Barman, a lawyer of the detainees, said the Yemeni government contacted the detainees’ families and asked them to prepare for the release of their relatives at al-Rayan military base. </p> <p>Rayan air base has been under the control of the <span class="caps">UAE</span>’s military since 2015, when the Gulf state and Saudi Arabia intervened in Yemen to back the government against the Houthi movement.</p> <p>Barman said the six released in July had received some money from the Emirati and Yemeni governments.</p> <p>The United Nations and rights groups have urged Abu Dhabi and Washington to stop the forced repatriation of detainees to their homelands, where they could face further torture and detention. </p> <p>UN rights experts said last year the 18 detainees were “allegedly forced to sign documents consenting to their repatriation” or remain indefinitely in Emirati detention. </p> <p>Their transfer to Gulf states was part of U.S. President Barack Obama’s plan to shutter the Guantanamo Bay detention centre that has drawn international condemnation. </p> <p/> </div>