Obama Approves His Largest Release of Guantánamo Prisoners Ever

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Gitmo. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

The Obama administration transferred 15 detainees from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to the United Arab Emirates on Monday, the largest such release of the president’s tenure. All those released were being held without charges, some for as long as 14 years. The detainees still may not be able to go home, according to the Washington Post, because U.S. policy forbids sending detainees back to their countries of origin. Of those sent to the UAE, 12 were Yemeni nationals and three Afghans, according to the Pentagon.

Barack Obama has long pledged to close the military prison by the end of his time in office. The president sought congressional approval for Guantánamo’s closure in February. Lawmakers were less than receptive. Currently, 61 detainees remain at the facility, including 20 that have been approved for release. Only seven remaining prisoners are facing charges, and none have been convicted. At the peak of its population in 2003, 684 detainees were housed at Guantánamo.

On Monday, Donald Trump promised to keep Guantánamo Bay open and add to its population, should he become president this November

Obama Approves His Largest Release of Gitmo Prisoners Ever