The United States said on Sunday it had released a Yemeni inmate from the Guantanamo Bay prison and sent him to Italy, bringing the number of detainees at the U.S. naval base in Cuba to 78.
Fayiz Ahmad Yahia Suleiman was approved for transfer nearly six years ago by six U.S. agencies – the Departments of Defense, State, Justice and Homeland Security, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“The United States is very grateful to the Government of Italy for its continued assistance in closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay,” said Lee Wolosky, the U.S. special envoy for Guantanamo’s closure, describing the effort to shut the prison as a “shared goal.”
The Yemeni man was arrested by Pakistani police and transferred to U.S. custody in December, 2001, meaning he had been in U.S. detention for more than 14 years, according to U.S. military documents posted online by the WikiLeaks website.
U.S. President Barack Obama, who had hoped to close the prison during his first year in office, rolled out his plan in February aimed at shutting the facility. But he faces opposition from many Republican lawmakers as well as some fellow Democrats.
Most of the 78 prisoners who remain at Guantanamo have been held without charge or trial for more than a decade, drawing international condemnation.
The Guantanamo prisoners were rounded up overseas when the United States became embroiled in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.
The facility, opened by Obama’s Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, came to symbolize aggressive detention practices that opened the United States to accusations of torture.
Obama’s plan for shuttering the facility calls for bringing the several dozen remaining prisoners to maximum-security prisons in the United States. U.S. law bars such transfers to the mainland.
The United States has struggled to persuade other nations to accept the prisoners because of concerns they could launch attacks and by America’s unwillingness to accept them on the U.S. mainland.
(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Mary Milliken and Peter Cooney)
Trump announces toughest sanctions ‘ever’ on Iran
President Donald Trump on Friday announced new sanctions on Iran's central bank, calling the measures the toughest ever imposed on another country by the United States.
"We have just sanctioned the Iranian national bank," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.
"These are the highest sanctions ever imposed on a country," he said.
The Trump administration has vowed a response after US officials blamed Iran for weekend blasts on Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, which caused a sharp hike in global crude prices.
The United States already maintains sweeping sanctions on Iran including on its central bank, with anyone who deals with it subject to prosecution.
Trump uncorks bizarre rant on ‘clean coal’ in Oval Office: ‘When you talk minerals, it’s about digging’
President Donald Trump on Friday uncorked a strange and nonsensical rant about the virtues of so-called "clean coal" during an Oval Office conversation with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
When asked about the importance of Australia's mineral industry, the president praised the country for doing so much to extract resources in what he described in an environmentally friendly way.
"Coal, as an example, you're the leader of safety in coal digging and we've actually studied it," the president said. "We're doing a lot of coal. You have very little -- you have almost no -- used to have a thing, black lung disease, and in Australia you almost don't have it anymore, you've got all of the dust down."
The View explodes in confusion after Meghan McCain makes Trump’s Ukraine debacle all about herself
Meghan McCain managed to place herself at the center of a debate about a whistleblower complaint filed against President Donald Trump.
"The View" grappled with reports that Trump dangled U.S. military aid to Ukraine in exchange for damaging information against Joe Biden, and co-host Abby Huntsman agreed that was an impeachable offense -- but expressed doubts about the accuracy.
"This is a blown-up story and we have no facts, there's no gray area," Huntsman said. "It's black and white, and that would give Trump all the more ammunition if this isn't even true to say, this is what the media does."