Four Guantanamo Detainees Transferred in Last Day of Obama Presidency
Washington, D.C.—As President Obama prepares to leave office, Human Rights First today praised the transfer of four Guantanamo detainees today and urges the incoming Trump Administration to continue the policy of working to close Guantanamo, which started under President Bush and continued through President Obama’s second term.
“While today’s transfer is a positive move, the fact is that Guantanamo’s continued operation is a threat to our national security and American values, and President-elect Trump would be wise to make shuttering the facility a priority,” said Human Rights First’s Raha Wala.
On his second full day in office, President Obama gathered a group of retired generals and admirals in the Oval Office to witness his executive order to close Guantanamo. While the president has failed to shutter the facility, the number of detainees has dwindled from 242 to 41. National security leaders and former government officials—including president George W. Bush, and other officials who helped set up the detention center—have supported closing Guantanamo because they’ve determined that it’s operation is contrary to the national interest. Human Rights First urges President-elect Trump to continue efforts to close the facility.
There are 41 detainees held at Guantanamo, which costs approximately $445 million per year to operate, more than $10 million per detainee. Five detainees have been unanimously cleared for transfer by six national security and intelligence agencies.
Thirty-six retired generals and admirals of the U.S. Armed Forces sent a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, urging them to work with the president to shutter the detention facility. “Closing Guantanamo will not be easy, but it is the right thing to do, and we call on you to work together to accomplish it. We take heart that our nation has elected people who will exercise their conscientious judgment, but who will not allow politics to obscure courage,” wrote the generals and admirals.