Oz Government mulls rehabilitating Guantanamo Bay inmates

December 27th, 2008 - 12:49 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama

Melbourne, Dec 27 (ANI): The Australian Government has left open the possibility of taking former inmates from the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd warned that any US request for an inmate to come would be subject to legal criteria and assessed on a case-by-case basis, The Australian reported.

Meanwhile, the Greens warned Rudd that he faced a political backlash if he accepted detainees held in the US military jail at Guantanamo Bay, but a spokesman for the Prime Minister confirmed that American authorities had approached Australia and other countries about resettling the detainees.

Australia, along with a number of other countries, has been approached to consider resettling detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Rudds spokesman said.

Any determination for an individual to come to Australia would be made on a case-by-case basis. All persons accepted to come to Australia would have to meet countrys strict legal requirements and go through the normal and extremely rigorous assessment processes.

The Australian reported on Friday that the US State Department had over the past 12 months cabled more than 100 countries seeking help to clear out Guantanamo Bay.

The incoming administration of Barack Obama, which plans to shut the facility within two years, is expecting help in resettling more than 250 detainees still held at Guantanamo Bay.

About 60 detainees have been cleared for release by US authorities but are unable to return to their homelands because they fear retribution.

Greens senator Rachel Siewert said Guantanamo Bay was a creation of the US Government and was therefore Washingtons problem. She said the Prime Minister should refuse to take any detainees.

Guantanamo Bay was opened in 2002 as a way of holding detainees caught in the war on terror beyond the reach of the US courts, where civilian rules for detention would apply.

Some European countries, keen to improve relations with the US, are understood to have said they are willing to help with resettling the detainees.

Germany and Portugal have acknowledged they were considering taking detainees, but The Netherlands has ruled out taking any, arguing it is the responsibility of the country that imprisoned them. (ANI)

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