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As of now, the public is not supportive.

A Fox News poll last week found that 63 percent of Americans wanted the prison to be kept open and 28 percent said it should be closed.

John Hutson, retired Navy rear admiral, lawyer and judge advocate of the Navy, said the American public is “woefully misinformed” about the prisoners, the options for moving them and the damage Guantanamo has done to the nation’s image on the global stage.

“If people had a better understanding of those factors, they would be clamoring for it to be closed rather than trying to keep it open,” Adm. Hutson said. “And, of course, [the president’s] critics in Congress will stop at nothing to thwart whatever he is trying to do. I just hope he doesn’t come out in favor of Father’s Day.”

It may not help Mr. Obama’s cause domestically, but the top U.N. human rights official criticizes the U.S. government for keeping Guantanamo open, saying the prison and the U.S. armed drone program that Mr. Obama also wrestled with last week are counterproductive in the battle against terrorist groups.

“The injustice embodied in this detention center has become an ideal recruitment tool for terrorists,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Monday at the opening of a session of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Hardening opposition

Despite Mr. Obama’s renewed plea, opposition in Congress appears to be stiffening.

Last summer, the U.S. transferred prisoner Ibrahim al-Qosi home to Sudan after he served out the sentence he received as part of a plea deal. At the time, U.S. law allowed transfers of those who had finished sentences under plea bargain, even if the home country was on the “state sponsors of terrorism” list.

But late last year, under a defense policy law, Congress deleted the plea bargain exception.

Tara Andringa, a spokeswoman for Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat, said the law affected only one prisoner — Noor Uthman Mohammad.

“In exchange for dropping the exception, we insisted on new language that would provide favorable consideration — but not an automatic exception — for any future plea agreement,” she said.

Before Mr. Obama’s announcement last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said Noor could continue to be held under the laws of war after he serves out his military sentence.

“We do it all the time,” Mr. Graham said.

Court documents show that Noor traveled to Afghanistan in 1994 and received basic arms training at a camp before becoming a trainer himself and taking on various other responsibilities. He said he was never a member of the Taliban or al Qaeda.

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