10:35 GMT17 January 2021
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    US President Barack Obama's administration likely to continue reducing the detainee population at the US military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba despite the Congressional prohibition against closing the facility, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a press briefing on Thursday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The Senate on Thursday passed the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which includes a prohibition against using federal funds to close the detention facility.

    "I would expect the administration to continue to pursue the strategy that we’ve been pursuing for almost eight years now, which is being engaged in an effort to reduce the population of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, even as we do so in a way that we believe is good for our national security," Earnest told reporters.

    Obama has made closing the detention facility an administration priority, citing its use as a recruiting tool by terror groups and the damage it has done to the US reputation abroad.

    The prison's population was further reduced last week with the transfer of a Yemeni man, Shawqi Awad Balzuhair, to the West African country of Cape Verde after 14 years in confinement.

    Currently, seven of the 59 detainees remaining at Guantanamo Bay are on trial. Dozens of others have never been charged with terrorism or other offenses.


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    National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Gitmo, Obama administration, Guantanamo prison
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