Obama Transfers 4 From Guantánamo, Leaving 41 There as Term Ends

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from The New York Times,

The Obama administration’s long and fitful effort to wind down the Guantánamo Bay wartime prison came to a close on Thursday with an announcement that it had transferred four more men out of the detention complex. Their departures are expected to be the last before President Obama leaves office on Friday.

The transfer of the four detainees means that President-elect Donald J. Trump, who has called for an end to such transfers, will inherit the fates of 41 men there, 31 of whom are being held without charges or trial. Eight years ago, when Mr. Obama took office and delivered an ill-fated vow to shutter the wartime prison he had inherited from the Bush administration, there were 242 detainees.

In a letter to congressional leaders the White House sent on Thursday afternoon, Mr. Obama reiterated his arguments for closing the prison — that it is expensive and a damaging symbol that fuels anti-Americanism — and complained again that restrictions imposed by Congress that prevented him from carrying out his plan to close it “make no sense.”

“As president, I have tried to close Guantánamo,” Mr. Obama said. “When I inherited this challenge, it was widely recognized that the facility — which many around the world continue to condemn — needed to close. Unfortunately, what had previously been bipartisan support for closure suddenly became a partisan issue. Despite those politics, we have made progress.”

Three of the newly transferred men — Yasin Qasem Muhammad Ismail, a Yemeni, Ravil Mingazov, a Russian, and Haji Wali Mohammed, an Afghan — were resettled in the United Arab Emirates. The fourth, Jabran Said Wazar al Qahtani, was repatriated to Saudi Arabia just two months after a parolelike board made up of six agencies had moved him to the transfer list. Each had been held for about 15 years.

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