Jean Lambert, London’s Green Party MEP, has welcomed the news that several EU states have agreed to receive prisoners released from the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.
It has been reported in the Washington Post that Britain, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain have accepted or publicly agreed to take in detainees. A further four EU countries have told the White House in private that they will resettle people currently held at the prison, while five other EU members are considering the matter.
Around 80 of the remaining detainees have already been cleared for release, but US officials are having difficulty finding countries that will take them in and meeting resistance in Congress to house them on US soil.
Jean Lambert MEP commented:
“I am delighted to hear this news. For a long time I’ve been calling for EU countries to receive freed Guantanamo prisoners and this agreement is a welcome sign of progress. I trust that other EU countries will also assist, so that Guantanamo can be shut for good and a just outcome reached for all inmates.”
The Guantanamo camp was established by then president George W. Bush in 2002 to house “war on terror” detainees. Since then, over 540 prisoners have been transferred from Guantanamo to at least 30 countries. Two hundred and twenty nine inmates still remain, with president Obama having vowed to shut the facility by January 2010.
Of the 80 prisoners cleared for release, there are about 50 inmates from Algeria, China, Libya, the occupied Palestinian territories, Russia, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia and Uzbekistan who are unable to return home as they risk persecution and threats to their safety.