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Homeland Security

Oman Accepts 10 Guantanamo Prisoners

By VOA New January 16, 2017

Oman said Monday it has accepted 10 prisoners from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The names and nationalities of the prisoners were not released.

When U.S. President Barack Obama took office in January 2009, he vowed to close the prison in southeastern Cuba, saying the detention facility did not reflect American values, because many of the prisoners there had been held for years without trial, and some had been tortured.

Observers say more prisoners could be released in the final hours of the Obama administration.

However, last week U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said he did not expect any more Guantanamo detainees to be released.

President-elect Donald Trump said during his campaign that he would not close Guantanamo because he wanted to "load it up with some bad dudes."

Guantanamo has been on long-term lease to the United States since before Fidel Castro's communist revolution and was designated a detention center by former president George W. Bush after the 2001 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York and Washington. The camp was intended to house prisoners captured by the U.S. and its allies in the fight against al-Qaida and other terror groups in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Few prisoners left

At its peak operation, 779 prisoners were held at Guantanamo; when Bush handed over control of the government to Obama the number had been reduced to about 500 detainees.

Obama has sharply whittled down the number of prisoners, returning some detainees to their home countries for prosecution, sending others to third countries for resettlement and releasing others without trial. Fewer than 50 prisoners remain at the facility.

However, Obama's stated goal of closing the detention center outright has been been thwarted by a variety of political and legal obstacles.

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