Spain weighing US request to take 4 Guantanamo detainees

[JURIST] Spain will consider accepting four Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees at the request of the US government, foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos [official profile, in Spanish] said Wednesday. Before Spain responds to the request, Moratinos said that the government will consider the charges [ABC report, in Spanish] against the prisoners, determine whether accepting them will pose any problems with other countries, and consider other legal ramifications involved in their acceptance. Additionally, the Spanish government said that the prisoners in question must be willing to be transferred [El Pais report, in Spanish] to the country. US special envoy for the closure of the detention facility Daniel Fried [profile] presented the request to representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice [official websites, in Spanish] in Madrid.

The request follows a recent joint agreement [JURIST report] between the US and the European Union (EU), which specifies terms for EU countries accepting Guantanamo detainees. On Monday, a spokesperson for Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi [official profile, in Italian] said that Italy would be willing to accept up to three detainees [AP report], having previously said that it was unwilling to do so [JURIST report]. Last week, Council of Europe [official website] Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg [official profile] sent a letter [text] to all member states urging them [JURIST report] to welcome certain released detainees. The Spanish government's consideration of potential problems with other countries in accepting the four detainees is likely due to an agreement [JURIST report] made earlier this month which set forth consultation and information sharing requirements to minimize any danger posed to other member states.

 

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