A US government official on Wednesday announced that the Department of Defense [official website] has told Congress that it plans to transfer as many as 12 prisoners from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. The plan would help the US move towards [NYT report] closing the military prison, a goal that US President Barack Obama has held since the start of his first presidential campaign. The disclosure to Congress was made due to a requirement that the Pentagon report that their security standards are sufficient for the release of prisoners 30 days before a transfer may take place.
In February Obama delivered a plan to Congress to close Guantanamo Bay [JURIST report]. Currently, 91 detainees remain at the facility, and 34 await resettlement in foreign countries. Earlier this month the former head of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, US Army Major General Geoffrey Miller, failed to appear [JURIST report] before a French court to answer a subpoena to appear for questioning on his involvement in the torture of two French detainees. In November the US Senate passed [JURIST report] the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (NDAA), which prohibits Guantanamo detainees from being transferred into the US. Obama signed the bill into law, despite the fact that it could delay his plan to close the prison. The Department of Defense said [JURIST report] in October they were sending teams to review three Colorado prisons as part of Obama’s efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay prison in October. The Guantanamo Review Task Force was created in response to a 2009 presidential executive order to review the status of all detainees. There have been multiple detainees released from Guantanamo recently, following reports that 17 were scheduled for release last month [JURIST report].