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Canada may take in former Guantanamo Bay detainees

[JURIST] A lawyer for a Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee who was formally cleared of terror charges said Wednesday that the US State Department is speaking with the Canadian government to secure his client's release to that country. Canada would have to issue a minister's permit under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act [CIC materials] to either allow the detainee to enter Canada to make his refugee claim there or make a special exception so the detainee could make the claim from outside the country. Both the US State Department and the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs refused to comment on whether such discussions are taking place. Acknowledging such talks could especially anger some Canadians while proceedings against 17 accused terrorists are under way [JURIST report] in Ontario.

The US Department of Defense says that more than 120 Guantanamo detainees have been determined eligible for transfer or release [DOD summary, PDF] by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal [DOD materials]. Many cleared but unreleased detainees are said to fear prosecution if they are returned to their home countries, and the US is struggling to find countries willing to receive former detainees. Albania agreed to accept five Chinese Uighur Muslims [JURIST report] in May after more than 100 other countries refused to take them. China, which classifies Uighurs as terrorists and has been known to persecute the group due to their Muslim faith [HRW backgrounder], demanded their return [JURIST report], saying the transfer broke international law. The five are being held in an Albanian refugee camp, and Albanian officials are now seeking to transfer the Uighurs [Washington Times report] to yet another location. The Ottawa Citizen has more.

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