Germany mulls taking in Guantanamo inmates

Berlin, Dec 22, IRNA ,The German government is considering plans to take in a number of foreign detainees held without legal charges by American authorities in the Guantanamo prison camp for more than six years.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has instructed his ministry to review the legal and political aspects of such a decision, foreign ministry spokesman Jens Ploetner told the press in Berlin on Monday.

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He pointed also to recent talks with a US delegation, composed of human rights organizations and legal representatives of Guantanamo detainees, at the German Foreign Ministry.

Meanwhile, deputy government spokesman Thomas Steg stressed the issue of whether to actually accept any prisoner was not presently on the agenda.

He added the fate of the inmates depended on the decision of the US and their native countries.

Steg made clear that any decision to let in Guantanamo prisoners had to be taken at the European Union level.

Amnesty International (AI) called on Germany Saturday to grant asylum to a number of foreign detainees in Guantanamo.

Talking to the German dpa news agency, the head of Germany’s AI section, Barbara Lochbihler said “swift action” was required to release the innocent inmates at Guantanamo and transfer them to countries which would be ready to provide safe haven.

She referred to previous announcements by US president-elect Barack Obama who said he would close Guantanamo after taking office on January 20.

Lochbihler urged Germany and other European Union states to declare their readiness to take 60 innocent Guantanamo inmates who for various reasons cannot return to their home countries.

Albania is reportedly the only nation yet to take in former Guantanamo detainees who were not its nationals or legal residents.

Around 265 suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban captives are still being held at the American naval base.

The Pentagon plans to try as many as 80 of them for alleged war crimes.