Once numbering over 800 prisoners and a source of contention from domestic and international humanitarian groups, Guantanamo Bay detention camp (Gitmo) is less 15 detainees as part of the Obama Administration’s effort to close the facility.
Monday’s transfer of prisoners to the United Arab Emirates marks the single, largest transfer in President Obama’s tenure. Guantanamo now holds just 61 inmates.
“The continued operation of the detention facility weakens our national security by draining resources, damaging our relationships with key allies and partners, and emboldening violent extremists,” said State Department special envoy for closing the Guantanamo detention center, Ambassador Lee Wolosky.
President Obama renewed his commitment to close the facility earlier this year. The 15 detainees, 12 of Yemeni origin and three Afghan nationals, join 55 others sent to 13 host countries since the beginning of the year.
A source of deep friction between the Obama White House and congressional Republicans, Mr. Obama had proposed the remaining detainees be transferred into the U.S. prison system, but federal law prohibits such a move.
[CNN] [ACLU.org] [Photo courtesy Fox News]