WASHINGTON - The U.S. government will transfer a dozen inmates currently incarcerated in the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, over the coming weeks as part of Obama's plan to shut down the prison before the end of his office in Jan. 2017, US media reported.
The New York Times, quoting an unidentified US senior official, said that the Department of Defense has informed the Congress of the transfer, a compulsory step by law before carrying out such operations.
The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense, must give 30-day notice to the legislative body, which is controlled by the Republicans who are against the closing of the prison, before such operations, although the source from The Times did not specify a specific date when they will leave the prison in Cuba nor where they will be heading.
The transfer of the first prisoner is expected to take place in the coming days while the rest of them will occur in the coming weeks.
The Pentagon said on Feb. 23 that, despite being "complicated" and not specifying any alternate facilities, it is possible to close Guantanamo Bay with collaboration of the Congress before Obama's term ends in January.
On the same day, the president presented a new plan in an attempt to close the prison by transferring 30 to 60 prisoners to U.S. territory. However, it was rejected by the Congress.
Of the 91 prisoners currently held at Guantanamo, a total of 37 have been approved to be sent to third countries or to other facilities on U.S. soil.
Of the remaining 54, ten face charges or have been convicted in trials before military commissions, while the rest are considered too dangerous to be released or be transferred, but their cases will be reviewed to determine whether they can be released.