How long till they come back as refugees? Back when we used to have a Congress, I could swear I remember them saying that Obama couldn’t release Guantánamo Bay Detainees without their consent. What happened? I guess he figures no one’s going to stop him.


The Obama administration has quietly seeded the diplomatic bed for its next push to transfer detainees out of Guantánamo Bay, the Guardian has learned, as Barack Obama aims to reduce the prison’s population before leaving office.

According to US officials, the administration has deals in place to send approximately two dozen longtime Guantánamo detainees to about half a dozen countries.

While it is unclear if the transfers will occur in one wave, as with the April transfer of nine detainees to Saudi Arabia, there is an expectation that the departure of 22 or 23 men will occur by the end of July. There are currently 80 men detained at Guantánamo, the lowest number since the US opened the wartime prison in 2002.

All the detainees for whom US diplomats have secured arrangements to leave Guantánamo have been officially approved for transfer, either by a 2010 internal review process or through quasi-parole hearings known as Periodic Review Boards.

The US holds 28 detainees approved for transfer, so the men’s departure would nearly empty Guantánamo of such designated detainees, substantially clearing a backlog that has lasted years. More