Wednesday, February 11, 2009

UK should help Guantanamo prisoners

A Bournemouth MEP says the UK should do its part to take some detainees when the US shuts down Guantanamo Bay within the next year.

Graham Watson of the Liberal Democrats says Europe has a responsibility "in recognising its share of the guilt in this whole thing and in resolving to turn over a new leaf".

The European Parliament has passed a resolution urging member states to accept some detainees by a large majority of MEPs - 542 for, 55 against and 51 abstentions.

Mr Watson says that in spite of considerable protests that Europe was innocent of any involvement in extraordinary rendition "we know now that the United Kingdom was involved, we know Portugal was involved, we're pretty certain that Poland was involved, perhaps Romania and perhaps others."

He is aware how members of the public might be concerned that possible terrorists could end up living in Europe. However he says,

"We do know that lots of innocent people were rounded up in the whole horrible story of the war on terror. We do know that some people were sold to the Americans for money who turned out to be completely innocent, have nothing to do with terrorism. And it's those people whose lives have been ruined by the long years in captivity that they've had without any access to justice who we should be prepared to resettle."

According to the press office for the European Parliament, 62 of the remaining 242 Guantanamo detainees will need to be resettled. This group of people who will not be prosecuted includes some Chinese Muslims.

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