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The Pentagon announced on Monday the transfer of 15 inmates out of the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — its largest transfer yet from the controversial detention facility.
After the transfer, 61 prisoners remained, according to the Defense Department. President Barack Obama has pledged to close the facility while in office, but Congress has blocked funding to move the detainees to the United States, so they must go to other countries instead.
The 12 Yemeni nationals and three Afghans were sent to the United Arab Emirates. They are:
Six of the detainees were cleared more than six years ago by a multi-agency review panel. The other nine were cleared more recently, from 2014 through this year. But they remained in prison as they awaited countries to take them that met the U.S. standards for security.
Only two of the group were briefly charged in a military court before prosecutors dropped their cases.
Larisa Epatko produced multimedia web features and broadcast reports with a focus on foreign affairs for the PBS NewsHour. She has reported in places such as Jordan, Pakistan, Iraq, Haiti, Sudan, Western Sahara, Guantanamo Bay, China, Vietnam, South Korea, Turkey, Germany and Ireland.
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