Obama Administration Has Cleared 75 Gitmo Detainees for Release

September 28, 2009 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

The Obama administration has cleared 75 of the remaining 223 Guantanamo prisoners for release as it attempts to move toward closing the detention camp by January, Reuters reports.

A task force set up when Obama took office is reviewing each case, and the administration has started posting the names of those cleared for release at the prison camp, according to a spokesman for the Guantanamo prison.

Although President Obama when he took office set a Jan. 22 deadline for shutting down the prison, Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged to ABC News on Sunday that “it’s going to be tough” to meet the deadline. Recent news reports have suggested that the deadline may be impossible to meet.

Despite the list of 78 prisoners deemed free to go (the list included three already released), many of them, such as the prisoners originally from Yemen, have been “cleared” for months or even years, but have not yet been returned home, despite eight years in captivity without charge. The Obama administration has been reluctant to return prisoners to Yemen because it does not trust the Yemeni government’s ability to prevent them from joining al-Qaeda-sponsored terrorist groups.

Reuters reports that the prisoners on the latest list include, in addition to the Yemenis, the 13 Uighurs still imprisoned (Palau has agreed to accept 12 of them), plus “nine detainees from Tunisia, seven from Algeria, four from Syria, three each from Libya and Saudi Arabia, two each from Uzbekistan, Egypt, the West Bank and Kuwait, and one each from Azerbaijan and Tajikistan.”