[JURIST] The Swiss government announced Wednesday that it has agreed to accept [press release] one Uzbek Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee for resettlement "on humanitarian grounds." The unidentified detainee has been held at Guantanamo since 2005 but has never faced charges. The detainee has been cleared for release since 2005, but could not be returned to Uzbekistan for fear of persecution. According to the statement from the Swiss Justice Ministry [official website]:
The USA's accusation that the man has links with terrorist groups has never been proven. As long ago as 2005, the imprisoned Uzbeki was classified by the USA as "cleared for release". The US authorities have assured Switzerland that the man has been neither prosecuted nor convicted, and that he constitutes no danger to public safety. In addition, Switzerland has not had any feedback from any other foreign security authority that would render the transfer unjustifiable.
Pending approval by the US Congress, the detainee will be transferred and resettled in Geneva.
Several detainees have been transferred to Europe, and various European countries have expressed a willingness to take detainees as the Obama administration works to close the facility. Last week, Bulgaria agreed [JURIST report] to consider accepting one detainee. Earlier this month Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha [official website] told reporters that closing Guantanamo is "human rights issue" when expressing his willingness [JURIST report] to accept more detainees. In November, four Guantanamo detainees were transferred to three European countries, as the detainee population at the detention facility continues to be reduced. Two Tunisian natives were transferred to Italy [press release] where they will stand trial. The other detainees include an unidentified Palestinian man transferred to Hungary [press release] and an Algerian who was transferred to France [press release]. In September, Belgium accepted a detainee for resettlement after sending a delegation to Guantanamo to interview [JURIST reports] the candidate.