15 Guantanamo Bay Detainees Released to United Arab Emirates | NBC Chicago
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15 Guantanamo Bay Detainees Released to United Arab Emirates

The release comes six months after President Barack Obama announced his plan to close the prison

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    In this May 14, 2009, file photo, reviewed by the U.S. military, Guantanamo detainees pray before dawn near a fence of razor-wire, inside Camp 4 detention facility at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba.

    Fifteen detainees will be transferred from Guantanamo Bay detention facility to the United Arab Emirates, the Defense Department said Monday.

    In a statement, the department said that a prison task force unanimously approved the transfer of six of the detainees.

    "Periodic review boards" determined that keeping the other nine prisoners was not "necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat," the department said.

    Among those to be released were Obaidullah, an Afghan who has said the Taliban forced him to learn about land mines, according to Reuters, and Abdel Qadir al-Mudafari, who was described in Pentagon documents published by Wikileaks as a former bodyguard for Osama bin Laden — a claim which has not been independently verified by NBC News.

    The release comes six months after President Barack Obama announced his long-awaited and much criticized plan to shutter the prison.