US to Send 6 Gitmo Detainees Back to Yemen
Move breaks logjam, but risks sending them back into battle
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2009 6:48 AM CST
A Guantanamo detainee speaks with guards in the Camp six detention facility on Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba, Sunday, May 31, 2009.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, Pool)
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(Newser) – The Obama administration plans to return six Yemeni Guantanamo detainees to their home country, a risky breakthrough that could lead to the release of dozens more detainees. The administration has been in high-level talks with senior Yemeni officials for months, trying to address security concerns, the Washington Post reports. The US will be keeping a close eye on the freed detainees, in the hopes of repatriating more of its Yemeni detainees.

“It's a breakthrough because the US and Yemen governments have been at an impasse,” says an attorney for seven Yemeni detainees. “You can’t solve the Guantanamo problem without solving the Yemeni problem.” Yemenis are the largest group at Guantanamo, accounting for 97 of the 210 remaining detainees, with at least 34 cleared for release. But al-Qaeda is believed to be thriving in Yemen, a destitute nation with little security, and critics say sending detainees is tantamount to returning them to the battlefield.