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Gitmo Now Down to 143 Prisoners

5 released and transferred to Georgia, Slovakia
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 20, 2014 10:04 PM CST
Updated Nov 21, 2014 2:00 AM CST

(Newser) – Five prisoners have been released from Guantanamo Bay as part of a renewed effort to close the detention center, officials say. Three men were sent to Georgia and two to Slovakia for resettlement. They were among dozens of low-level prisoners at Guantanamo that an administration task force in 2009 deemed to no longer pose a threat. The release of the men, four Yemenis and a Tunisian, brings the prison population to 143, around 100 fewer than when President Obama took office vowing to close the center.

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Obama's vow to close Guantanamo was thwarted by Congress, which prohibited sending any prisoner to the US and imposed restrictions that brought releases to a halt. Congress eased the transfer restrictions last December, and releases have resumed. A number of resettlements are expected in the coming weeks. US State Department envoy Clifford Sloan has been trying to persuade countries to accept prisoners, and he praises Georgia and Slovakia. "We are very grateful to our partners for these generous humanitarian gestures," he says. Some 74 of the remaining prisoners are cleared and awaiting resettlement, and Obama was last month rumored to be planning to override the congressional ban and close the prison. (Read more Guantanamo Bay stories.)

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