Muscat – Oman announced on Monday that it had taken in 10 prisoners released by the United States from its Guantanamo Bay military prison, part of a push by outgoing President Barack Obama to shrink the inmate population before leaving office.
“To meet a request by the U.S. government to assist in settling the issue of the detainees at Guantanamo, out of consideration of their humanitarian situation, 10 people released from that prison arrived in the Sultanate of Oman for a temporary residency,” a statement from Oman Foreign Ministry said.
The freed prisoners were not identified by name or nationality.
At its peak, Guantanamo had close to 700 prisoners. When President Obama entered office in January 2009, he immediately pledged to close the prison in Cuba, which was down to 242 detainees at the time.
Many have been released to their home countries or to other nations over the past eight years.
Obama pledged to close what became a source of international criticism over the mistreatment of detainees and the notion of holding people indefinitely, most without charge.
However he has been unable to fulfill promises to close the facility in part because of congressional opposition to transferring any of the detainees to U.S. prisons. Congress ultimately banned the transfer of prisoners to U.S. soil for any reason.
The sultanate of Oman, on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, previously accepted 10 Guantanamo prisoners from Yemen in January 2016.
Oman also took another six in June 2015.
Neighboring Saudi Arabia took four prisoners earlier this month and the United Arab Emirates took 15 in the largest-single transfer during Obama’s administration in August.
The majority of Guantanamo prisoners released have been sent to Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.