Leg shackles on the floor of the detention center at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Photo by Larisa Epatko

15 detainees transferred out of Guantanamo, leaving 61

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:

  • Abd al-Muhsin Abd al-Rab Salih al-Busi
  • Abd al-Rahman Sulayman
  • Mohammed Nasir Yahi Khussrof Kazaz
  • Abdul Muhammad Ahmad Nassar al-Muhajari
  • Muhammad Ahmad Said al-Adahi
  • Abdel Qadir al-Mudafari
  • Mahmud Abd Al Aziz al-Mujahid
  • Saeed Ahmed Mohammed Abdullah Sarem Jarabh
  • Mohammed Kamin
  • Zahar Omar Hamis bin Hamdoun
  • Hamid al-Razak (aka Haji Hamidullah)
  • Majid Mahmud Abdu Ahmed
  • Ayub Murshid Ali Salih
  • Obaidullah, who goes by only one name
  • Bashir Nasir Ali al-Marwalah

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.