Where do things stand at Guantánamo? Six basic questions answered.
President Obama this week pledged to “reengage” with Congress to find a way to close the terror detention camp at the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, naval base. The renewed focus comes as 100 of the 166 detainees are reported to be engaged in a hunger strike. Here is a brief look at where things stand now.
5. How many of the Guantánamo detainees have been cleared for release to their home country? And why haven’t those transfers taken place?
A. Of the 166 prisoners currently at Guantánamo, 86 have been approved for release. Nonetheless, in addition to blocking transfers to the US, a defense appropriations amendment also bars any transfer of detainees overseas without congressional approval.
The single largest group of cleared detainees is comprised of citizens of Yemen. Mounting tension and fighting in Yemen and growing concern about Yemen-based militant imam Anwar al-Awlaki and the spin-off group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, prompted the administration to put those transfer plans on hold. Mr. Awlaki was killed in a US drone attack in 2011, but concern about other militants and the stability of the government in Sanaa has kept transfer plans on a back burner.