U.S. Sends Two Guantanamo Prisoners Home

Obama administration continues to decrease prisoner count in hopes of eventually closing facility

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The United States has released two prisoners who had been held at Guantanamo Bay back to their native Sudan, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

The release of Noor Uthman Mohammed andĀ Ibrahim Idris from the military detention facility in Cuba leaves 158 prisoners still remaining, Reuters reports, as the Obama administration continues long-stalled efforts to close the controversial prison. Noor pleaded guilty to war crimes in exchange for his release, while Idris was never charged with a crime and spent most of his 12 years at the detention facility in the psychiatric ward.

Idris’ lawyers argued that as an obese, diabetic, schizophrenic man, he was not a threat to the United States. He was originally brought to Guantanamo in January 2002, when the prison opened, as a suspected bodyguard to Osama bin Laden. The Obama administration chose not to defend his detention when a judge ordered his release.

Noor was prosecuted at the facility, and in 2011 pleaded guilty to being an instructor at an Afghan training camp in the 1990s. U.S. officials say they are coordinating with the government of Sudan to provide appropriate security measures for the released detainees.