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    An American Flag is seen through razor wire at Camp VI in Camp Delta where detainees are housed at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba

    Closing Guantanamo Before Leaving Office ‘Difficult’ for Obama: White House

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    White House spokesperson Josh Earnest stated that the closing of the Guantanamo prison facility in Cuba would be a difficult task for US President Barack Obama before his leaving the office, because the US Congress continues to block that path.

    WASHINGTON, January 13 (Sputnik) — The White House admitted that it will be challenging for US President Barack Obama to close the Guantanamo prison facility in Cuba before he leaves office because of Congress, spokesperson Josh Earnest said during a press briefing on Monday.

    “It will be very, very difficult for us to achieve that goal [of closing Guantanamo prison] before the President [Obama] leaves office, as long as Congress continues to block that path,” Earnest said.

    In 2009, President Obama signed an executive order to close Guantanamo Bay and described the detention facility as a “sad chapter in American history.” However, the Cuban prison site went on to its 13th anniversary this month.

    Earnest said that President Obama’s review conducted when he first took office found that many of the Guantanamo inmates were cleared for transfer to other countries “without posing a significant risk to US interests.”

    However, 127 inmates still remain at the Guantanamo prison facility.

    In December, the US Congress passed a $577 defense authorization bill, which President Obama signed into law, prohibiting the Department of Defense from transferring prisoners from Guantanamo.

    he number of released Guantanamo prisoners reengaging in terrorist or insurgent activities has dropped almost three times since 2009
    © East News / Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth
    Following his approval of the Defense Authorization Act, President Obama said that he still opposes the restrictions put in place by Congress and would “continue to work with the Congress to remove them.”

    Since November, the United States has released 28 Guantanamo detainees to countries including Afghanistan, Uruguay, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia and Kazakhstan, leaving 127 prisoners left at the detention facility. Some have even remained at the prison for years despite having been cleared for release.

    The detention facility, located in Cuba, has been the subject of harsh criticism by human rights groups, governments and media since its establishment in 2002. Health workers, inspectors and former detainees have described the conditions at the camp as cruel and inhumane, and have reported numerous acts of torture.

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    Tags:
    Guantanamo prison, White House, US Congress, Josh Earnest, Cuba, United States
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