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Spain accepts third Guantanamo detainee

The Spanish Interior Ministry [official website, in Spanish] announced Thursday that the country has accepted its third [press release, in Spanish] Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee. The man, an Afghan national, arrived in Spain on Wednesday and will be given residency and work permits. The ministry also noted that the former-detainee has no pending charges of terrorism against him in any jurisdiction. This is the third of five detainees that Spain has agreed to accept [JURIST report]. Spain had previously agreed [JURIST report] to accept only two detainees, one Yemeni and one Palestinian, in response to a June 2009 request [AFP report] by the Obama administration. Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos [official profile] indicated [El Pais report, in Spanish] that Spain was willing to increase the number of detainees accepted in order to help remedy what it sees as an unacceptable situation at the detention facility. The first Guantanamo detainee was transferred to Spain in February, while a second detainee was transferred in May [JURIST reports]. Also Thursday, the US Department of Defense [official website] announced that another detainee was transferred to Latvia [press release]. There are currently 176 detainees awaiting transfer from Guantanamo.

The Obama administration continues its push to close the Guantanamo Bay facility, despite missing its self-imposed one-year deadline [JURIST report] in January. The administration has run into several hurdles in closing the prison, including opposition from members of Congress and the suspension of detainee transfers to Yemen [JURIST report]. The number of detainees at Guantanamo has been significantly reduced as the administration continues to transfer detainees to a growing list of countries including Germany, Italy, Maldives, Georgia, Albania, Latvia, Switzerland, Slovakia, Somaliland, Palau, Belgium, Afghanistan and Bermuda [JURIST reports].

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