Britain ready to take in Guantanamo prisonersJanuary 1st, 2009 - 3:00 pm ICT by ANI
London, Jan.1 (ANI): Britain has said that it is prepared to receive foreign terror suspects from Guantanamo Bay so that Barack Obama can shut the infamous detention facility down, The Times has learnt.
Government sources were quoted as saying that Britain now supports moves to re-house the detainees, despite previous refusals to help President Bush.
A Downing Street official said that a process to deal with the detainees was being put in place and that decisions would be for the Home Secretary (Jacqui Smith) to decide on a case-by-case basis.
The issue is the subject of intense negotiations within Whitehall. The Foreign Office appears much keener on the idea than other departments, which will have to deal with the suspects immigration status and whether they will need special housing and cash benefits. Having foreign terror suspects with no links to the UK housed here inevitably will provoke controversy.
Britain accepts that the prison should be closed, according to a diplomatic source, and that the US is going to need help to close it.
The Government is supporting a call from Portugal for EU members to resettle detainees.
The US military says that of the 248 prisoners still in Guantanamo Bay, approximately 60 have been cleared for release.
One move being discussed in Washington is for the US to take in 17 Chinese Uighurs, who cannot return to China, as an opening gesture.
Obamas plan is for the most dangerous detainees between 30 and 80 men to be taken to the US for formal trials.
This presents problems, however, as evidence against inmates such as Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the self-confessed mastermind of the September 11 attacks, was obtained through duress. (ANI)
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