Austria refuses to accept Guantanamo detainees

Austria refuses to accept Guantanamo detainees

[JURIST] Austrian Interior Minister Maria Fekter [official website, in German] said Monday that the country would not accept released Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees from the US, according to a report [text] by the Associated Press. Fekter said the detainees could pose a security threat to the European Union (EU) [official website; JURIST news archive] during a meeting of EU leaders in Luxembourg. The leaders convened to discuss a request by US President Barack Obama [official profile] that EU member states consider accepting [JURIST report] the detainees in order for the military prison to be closed [JURIST report]. While each member country of the EU will individually decide whether to accept detainees, they must notify other countries because the 23 member countries share a passport free zone.

Earlier this month, French President Nicholas Sarkozy [official profile; JURIST news archive] said that his country would accept one detainee [JURIST report] in a symbolic effort to aid the closure of the detention center. Other countries such as Britain, Germany, Ireland, and Portugal [JURIST reports] have also said they would consider accepting released detainees. Other states have expressed reservations about accepting detainees, including Poland and Spain, while Italy [JURIST reports] and the Netherlands [AFP report] have said they will not accept detainees.