Obama lifts ban on Guantanamo transfers to Yemen

Associated Press + More

By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is lifting his self-imposed ban on transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees to Yemen in his renewed effort to close the prison.

Obama suspend transfers there in January 2010 after a would-be bomber attempted to blow up a U.S.-bound flight on instructions from al-Qaida operatives in Yemen.

The change in policy comes since a new president has taken over and improved security in the Arab nation. But al-Qaida is still active in Yemen, and there have been instances of former detainees returning to jihad there.

Lifting the ban is a step toward Obama's goal of closing the Navy-run prison in Cuba, since nearly 100 of the 166 detainees are from Yemen.

Obama announced he was lifting the ban in a speech Thursday at National Defense University.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.