Australia: KRudd may take Guantanamo Bay inmates

Thanks to Gramfan

Sid Maher/The Australian

* He sure will. Its an offer he just can’t refuse:

KEVIN Rudd has left open the possibility of Australia taking former inmates from the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, but warned that any US request for an inmate to come would be subject to legal criteria and assessed on a case-by-case basis.

As the Greens warned the Prime Minister he faced a political backlash if he accepted detainees held in the US military jail at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, a spokesman for Mr Rudd confirmed that US 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,” the Prime Minister’s 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 Australia’s strict legal requirements and go through the normal and extremely rigorous assessment processes.”

The Australian reported yesterday 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 told The Weekend Australian Guantanamo Bay was a creation of the US Government and was therefore Washington’s problem. She said the Prime Minister should refuse to take any detainees.

“It’s something they should be dealing with on home soil,” she said. “We understand some can’t go back to their homelands, but in those instances the US Government should be helping them within America.”

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.

While some inmates are al-Qa’ida linchpins such 9/11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, others have been held for years without charge or trial and without presenting any threat to the US or the West.

Australian David Hicks was held there for five years before being convicted last year of providing material support for terrorism. He was returned to Australia to serve nine months’ jail before being released and placed under a control order, which expired last weekend.

Another Australian, Mamdouh Habib, was released from Guantanamo Bay without charge in 2005.

* May as well take their “prison chaplain”,  James Yee too: after all, he gave Hicks aka Mahmood Dawoud a clean bill of health:  

* Muslim ‘chaplain’  James Yee declares: “Hicks not a threat”

Ex-Army chaplain cleared in Gitmo spy case is Obama delegate

Posted by The Associated Press 

Lying scumbag James Yee: Former Muslim chaplain at Gitmo passes on hearsay about Qur’an desecration

OLYMPIA — A former Army Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who was cleared of spy accusations is now a Democratic National Convention delegate pledged to Sen. Barack Obama.

Former Capt. James J. Yee was among the delegates who were elected by precinct representatives Saturday at the party’s 9th Congressional District convention at North Thurston High School.

Others chosen at the gathering were Zach Smith, a former supporter of ex-Sen. John Edwards who is now pledged to Clinton, and Natalie Stevens, an alternate pledged to Obama.

Yee, a West Point graduate, was accused in 2003 of being part of a spy ring at the U.S. prison for suspected terrorists in Guantanamo Bay. He spent 76 days in solitary confinement before being exonerated and later resigned from the Army, receiving an honorable discharge.

Yee now lives with his wife and daughter in Olympia, south of Fort Lewis, where he was assigned before and after his ordeal.

The experience left him as “living proof that civil liberties have been eroded since 9/11,” Yee told The Olympian newspaper on Monday.

He said that during the gathering Saturday, “I came out and basically reiterated that Sen. Obama is really the only candidate that consistently campaigns on rejecting torture without exception, on closing Guantanamo Bay, restoring habeas (corpus) and adhering to the Geneva Conventions.”

— The Associated Press

3 thoughts on “Australia: KRudd may take Guantanamo Bay inmates”

  1. There is only one solution, ship them back whence they came. If their own countries don’t even want them you know they are rotten to the core.

  2. This is insane.

    If you assume they are terrorists why bring them to any western country?
    They will exploit all the legal loopholes for starters.

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