Two Guantánamo detainees transferred to Ghana

Two Yemeni men captured in Afghanistan and detained at Guantánamo Bay for 14 years have been released to Ghana, officials said Jan. 6. These two are among the 17 detainees scheduled for release this month. The men were suspected of training with al-Qaeda and fighting with the Taliban but were never charged. They had been cleared for release in 2009, but required a host country to accept them before actual release could be ordered. 

The Obama administration has promised to close the Guantánamo prison but has struggled due to Congress' opposition to relocating detainees to the US, as well as slowing the process of transferring prisoners to other countries. In November the US Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (NDAA), which prohibits Guantánamo detainees from being transferred into the US. Obama signed the bill into law, despite the fact that it will delay his plan to close the prison. The NDAA comes after the Department of Defense said it was sending teams to review three Colorado prisons as part of Obama's efforts to close the Guantánamo Bay prison in October. The Guantanamo Review Task Force (GRTF) was created in response to a 2009 presidential executive order (PDF) to review the status of all detainees. In September White House Spokesperson Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama was considering a "wide array" of options for closing the prison.

From Jurist, Jan. 7. Used with permission.

Note: Obama has now repeatedly signed NDAAs that contian the provision he ostensibly opposes barring the transfer of Guantánamo detainees to the US. With the two transfers to Ghana, the number of detainees at the facility stands at 105.