Italy official says country will not accept Guantanamo detainees

[JURIST] Speaker for Italy's Chamber of Deputies [official website] Gianfranco Fini [official profile] said Monday that Italy will not accept detainees released from the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. Fini made the announcement after a meeting with US House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) [official profile] in Rome, and it contradicts earlier statements [ANSA report] by Italian defense minister Ignazio La Russa [official website, in Italian] in which La Russa said the country may consider accepting the detainees either under asylum status or within its prison system. Fini said that Italian law particularly forbids the country's prison system from housing foreign inmates absent some formal agreement.

Last week, Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister Vygaudas Usackas [official profile] said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs [official website] would begin talks with the US about the possibility of accepting prisoners [JURIST post] from Guantanamo Bay. Earlier this month, the European Parliament [official website] voted 542-55, with 51 abstentions, to adopt a resolution [materials; JURIST report] calling for member states to accept low-risk prisoners who cannot be returned to their countries of origin for fear of persecution. Details regarding which prisoners may be transferred to which countries are as yet undetermined. Last month, Council of the European Union Secretary-General Javier Solana [official website] indicated that several EU member states would likely be willing to accept [press release, PDF; JURIST report] some former prisoners, though acceptance may be conditioned on the US providing careful background checks to prove that the detainees pose no danger to the host country. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner [official profile] has noted that legal obstacles facing the transfer of the detainees would be different for each host country, and that their acceptance would be determined on a case-by case basis.



 

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