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    In this 2009 file photo, reviewed by the U.S. military, an American flag fluttering in the wind is pictured through a broken window from inside an airplane hangar used for media activities at Camp Justice, the site of the U.S. war crimes tribunal compound, at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba, July 16, 2009

    Obama Slashes Guantanamo Bay Population to 41 Detainees - White House

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    Outgoing US President Barack Obama has slashed the population of the Guantanamo Bay facility to just 41 detainees, the White House said in a press release on Thursday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Obama has transferred a total of 196 detainees from the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    "Of the nearly 800 detainees at one time held at Guantanamo Bay, more than 90 percent have been transferred, including more than 500 detainees transferred by the prior administration and 196 detainees transferred by this administration," the release stated. "As of January 19, 2017, 41 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay."

    Obama urged the US Congress to close the military detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, stressing there was no justification for its continued use, the release added.

    "Once again, I encourage the Congress to close the facility and permit more of our brave men and women in uniform serving at Guantanamo Bay to return to meeting the challenges of the 21st century around the globe," Obama stated.

    The president explained there was no justification beyond politics for the facility’s continued use to house detainees, adding that terror suspects could safely be housed in the United States and tried in US courts.

    Obama made closing the detention facility a priority for his administration, arguing that its use has been a potent recruiting tool by terror groups and the prison has damaged US reputation abroad.

    Republican lawmakers have resisted Obama’s attempts to close the facility, including by inserting language into the defense spending bill prohibiting the use of federal funds to transfer detainees to US soil.

    Of the estimated 45 detainees remaining at the detention center, nine have been cleared by the US government for release and ten have been charged by military commissions.

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