A+ A-

France no longer to accept freed detainees from Guantanamo

PARIS, Oct 2 (KUNA) -- France said on Wednesday that it does not plan to accept any more foreign nationals freed from the Guantanamo detention facility, which still has over 160 people interned there for alleged links with terrorist movements.
Over time, a number of detainees have been released for clear lack of any evidence, mistaken identity or other reasons like failing health.
France in the past has accepted two foreign nationals who were freed from Guantanamo as part of a European Union effort to give asylum to detainees. The EU accepted around 20 Guantanamo detainees as part of that programme.
Two new releases from the controversial US facility were announced on August 29 and one of these people, Nabil Hajj-Arab, an Algerian national, had requested asylum in France rather than being transferred back to his home country.
A request was made to the French government by the family of the Algerian but it has not been accepted and he was ordered transferred back to Algeria.
France recalled that it was the initiator of the European policy to grant asylum to some foreign nationals from Guantanamo, the Foreign Ministry said here, noting Paris had urged "a sharing of the effort among Europeans" when it held the EU Presidency in the second half of 2008.
"Today, we do not envisage proceeding with other receptions (of detainees), as the transfer of former detainees from Guantanamo is being settled principally between the United States and the State from which the person concerned takes his nationality," Foreign Ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot said in a briefing.
Guantanamo has been broadly criticised for failing to provide detainees with "due process" and for not giving them proper trials, but US officials have argued that the detentions on Cuban territory, where the base is located, are legal and not governed by US law.
In addition, the status of the detainees as "enemy combatants" does not, US officials say, give them the right to due process. Many countries and human rights organisations dispute this.
A promise by President Barack Obama several years ago to close the facility has not been kept, in part because it is difficult to relocate detainees, many of whom need extensive psychological and also medical treatment after their release.
Also, some detainees do not want to return to their home countries for fear they will be mistreated. Lalliot pointed out that France "had played its part to bring an end to the abnormal legal situation created by the Guantanamo detention centre and to encourage the American authorities to definitively close the detention centre.
" (end) jk.mt KUNA 021630 Oct 13NNNN