A look at the release of 6 Guantanamo prisoners

AP News
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Posted: Dec 07, 2014 1:26 PM
A look at the release of 6 Guantanamo prisoners

MIAMI (AP) — Here is a look at the prison on the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, following the release of six prisoners to Uruguay:

— The detention center now holds 136 prisoners spread out over several camps depending on the category and behavior of the detainee. That is the lowest number since shortly after it opened in January 2002 to detain and interrogate detainees suspected of involvement in terrorism or having links to al-Qaida and the Taliban. About 600 prisoners have been released under President Barack Obama and his predecessor, George W. Bush, most of them sent to their home countries.

— President Obama pledged to close the prison within a year of taking office but was blocked by Congress, which has enacted legislation that prohibits transferring any prisoners to the U.S. mainland for any reason, including trial or imprisonment, and imposed rules making it harder to sending them overseas. Congress eased the transfer restrictions last year and they have resumed after a lull. The U.S. has released 19 so far this year and more releases are expected by Dec. 31.

— Of the 136 still detained, there are 67 prisoners who have been determined to be suitable for release by a task force of U.S. government agencies. Some of these men can't go back to their homelands for reasons that include the possibility that they could face persecution or torture or because the U.S. considers their countries too unstable to provide adequate guarantees that they can be monitored and kept from engaging in militant activity.

— The remaining prisoners pose the biggest challenge to any effort to close the detention center. They are a mix of prisoners who have either been deemed too dangerous to release or are at some stage of the process of trial by military commission. This last group includes five men charged with terrorism and other crimes for their alleged roles in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack. Their case is in the pre-trial stage and no date has been set for the death penalty trial.