[JURIST] The Obama Administration [official website] announced on Wednesday that it plans to expedite the closing of Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archives]. Over the next six months the administration plans to transfer 64 detainees. President Obama has been in contact [Washington Post report] with the heads of several nations to facilitate the transfer. Currently the prison population is 132. However, within the next month the administration hopes to reduce that number to the mid-120s. Department of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel [official profile] has approved the transfer of five detainees by the end of the year, which will bring the total of detainees released in 2014 to 28.
The acceleration of the closure of Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] is a part of the administration’s attempt to fulfill campaign promises made by President Obama in 2008, despite restrictions in the latest defense spending bill [JURIST report]. Last week the Department of Defense [official profile] announced the repatriation [JURIST report] of four Guantanamo Bay detainees to Afghanistan. Earlier this month the Pentagon announced the transfer [JURIST report] of six detainees from Guantanamo to Uruguay. This move is the result of a 2009 Executive Order issued by President Barack Obama instructing the Guantanamo Bay Review Force to review these cases. In November five detainees were released [JURIST report] to their respective home countries of Georgia and Slovakia. Also in November the Pentagon announced the the release [JURIST report] of Fouzi Khalid Abdullah Al Awda from the detention facilities after nearly 13 years of imprisonment without a trial. In June the final known US prisoner of war prisoner Bowe Bergdahl was released into US custody [JURIST report] in exchange for five detainees held at Guantanamo Bay.