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US official urges 'practical suggestions' rather than calls for closing Guantanamo

[JURIST] The US Department of State's top legal advisor asked Friday that the UK and other foreign governments to help repatriate detainees at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] rather than calling for closure of the prison. In an interview [excerpt, recorded audio] with the BBC, John Bellinger [official profile] stated "If we really want to reduce the numbers to send people back, progress cannot be made by just simply saying Guantanamo should be closed." Instead, Bellinger asked for "practical suggestions." The UK has reportedly refused to accept custody [JURIST report] of several former UK legal residents in custody at Guantanamo Bay and the families of three of those detainees recently lost their bid [JURIST report] to require the British government to pursue their release from the US prison.

Last week, the British foreign ministry called for the closure of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, which the State Department rejected [JURIST reports]. Bellinger repeated his earlier statement that trials of some 80 detainees are expected to begin next year under the newly-signed Military Commissions Act [JURIST reports]. BBC News has more.

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