The Obama Administration approved the release of 15 "low-risk" prisoners to the UAE from Guantanamo Bay Monday. The head of the Foreign Affairs Committee (R-CA) Ed Royce expressed his outrage at the decision, saying:
"In its race to close Gitmo, the Obama administration is doubling down on policies that put American lives at risk...Once again, hardened terrorists are being released to foreign countries where they will be a threat" -Ed Royce
Six of the fifteen prisoners were unanimously approved the Pentagon board whereas nine had decisions made on them by consensus. This leaves only 61 detainees remaining in Guantanamo, down from the 242 that were remaining when Obama entered office and a high of 700. The Pentagon reports that the 15 prisoners released are:
"Abd al-Muhsin Abd al-Rab Salih al-Busi, Abd al-Rahman Sulayman, Mohammed Nasir Yahi Khussrof Kazaz, Abdul Muhammad Ahmad Nassar al-Muhajari, Muhammad Ahmad Said al-Adahi, Abdel Qadir al-Mudafari, Mahmud Abd Al Aziz al-Mujahid, Saeed Ahmed Mohammed Abdullah Sarem Jarabh, Mohammed Kamin, Zahar Omar Hamis bin Hamdoun, Hamid al-Razak (aka Haji Hamidullah), Majid Mahmud Abdu Ahmed, Ayub Murshid Ali Salih, Obaidullah, and Bashir Nasir Ali al-Marwalah"
Obama has been trying to shut down Guantanamo since entering office. However, US law prohibits the government from moving these prisoners to most prisons on US soil, and there are not enough max-security prisons to currently house them. In an effort to dwindle the number at Guantanamo, the Obama administration has tried to deport low-risk prisoners to foreign countries while holding the higher-risk prisoners. The head of the ACLU commented on the situation, praising Obama by saying:
"This is a welcome advance in the administration’s effort to close Guantanamo...As the number of men at Guantanamo dwindles, so does any rationale for keeping the detention camp open. It’s also critically important for the Obama administration to end what Guantanamo represents, which is the policy of indefinite detention without charge or trial" -Hina Shasmi