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Mixed Fates for Gitmo Detainees

The Obama administration failed to close Guantanamo Bay by its January 2010 deadline. Now the administration has announced that it will continue to detain fifty of the detainees without proceeding with a trial.

An Obama administration spokesperson said that the high-level Justice Department task force charged with reviewing each case has concluded that these fifty men are too difficult to prosecute, but too dangerous to release.

However, the administration has decided that nearly forty other detainees should be prosecuted fosr terrorism or related war crimes. Attorney General Eric Holder must decide if the detainees who will be tried will face military commissions or civilian trials.

There are about 200 detainees left in Guantanamo. The remaining prisoners, about 110 men, will likely be repatriated or transferred to other countries for possible release. Since Obama took office, forty-four Guantanamo Bay detainees have been repatriated or resettled in third-party countries. The group of 110 detainees cleared for release includes two categories. The task force named eighty detainees, including about thirty Yemenis, as eligible for immediate repatriation or resettlement in a third-party country. However, thirty other Yemenis were placed in a category of their own, with their release dependent on better conditions in Yemen. The Yemeni government has been fighting a branch of al-Qaeda and battling a civil war.

Obama stopped the transfer of any detainees to Yemen in the wake of an attempted Christmas Day airliner attack, a plot that officials said originated in Yemen. The result is that the Yemenis now held at Guantanamo are likely to remain there for the foreseeable future.

See Washington Post for more.

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