The United States has asked Germany to accept some Guantanamo prisoners when the facility is closed, the Interior Ministry said Sunday, confirming German media reports. An Interior Ministry spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with the ministry’s policy, confirmed a report in Der Spiegel magazine that the U.S. has provided a list of names of prisoners it would like Germany to accept. “There is a concrete request,” the spokesman said, saying he could not provide any further details. Der Spiegel reported, without citing sources, that the U.S. had asked Germany to accept 10 prisoners. Top-selling Bild newspaper, meanwhile, reported the 10 were Chinese Muslims, known as Uighurs. It also did not cite sources. President Barack Obama has ordered the military prison in Cuba shuttered in the next nine months. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said at the end of April that the U.S. Justice Department is still trying to determine how many of the 241 prisoners in Guantanamo will be taken by other countries. Also at the end of April, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder spent several days privately asking European leaders in London, Prague and Berlin for help relocating prisoners the United States wants to set free. In Berlin, Holder said the United States had made decisions on a group of about 30 prisoners, but had not yet decided where it wants to send them. Torsten Holtz reports.
Some of the hundreds of people who were held by the US authorities at Guantánamo Bay detention camp in Cuba were British-based. Seven of them are starting a legal challenge to prevent the destruction of any alleged evidence of government collusion in their detention.
The BBC has been speaking to several of those who were held to find out what happened when they returned home. The testimonies give evidence of the failures of Western states to ensure the rule of law and to protect human rights in the fight against terrorism.
Two British Muslims are being locked-up in a cage, chained and hooded for 6 days and nights without basic amenities and comfort in a busy traffic junction corner on the Whitechapel Road (East London). Hidden Detainees, the organisers behind the event, hope to recreate the barbaric conditions of the Guantanamo Bay (Camp X-Ray) camp in Cuba, where over 775 suspects from around the world were illegally held as part of America’s _War on Terror’. The notorious Camp X-Ray has received worldwide condemnation for operating outside the law, with record numbers of prisoners committing suicide and going on extensive hunger strikes.http://themuslimweekly.com/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=89F929DA5BC9E88A0A4BE9C9&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News
Islamic countries pushed through a resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday urging a global prohibition on the public defamation of religion – a response largely to the furor last year over caricatures published in a Danish newspaper of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. The statement proposed by the Organization of Islamic Conference addressed what it called a “campaign” against Muslim minorities and the Islamic religion around the world since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. The resolution, which was opposed by a number of other non-Muslim countries, “expresses deep concern at attempts to identify Islam with terrorism, violence and human rights violations.” It makes no mention of any other religion besides Islam, but urges countries “to take resolute action to prohibit the dissemination of racist and xenophobic ideas and material aimed at any religion or its followers that constitute incitement and religious hatred, hostility, or violence.” The resolution was adopted by a 24-14 vote with nine abstentions. Canada, Japan and South Korea joined European countries in opposition, primarily citing its excessive focus on Islam and incompatibility with fundamental rights such as the freedoms of speech and thought. “The problem of religious intolerance is worldwide and not limited to certain religions,” said Brigitta Maria Siefker-Eberle of Germany, speaking on behalf of the 27-nation European Union. There are 17 Muslim countries in the 47-nation human rights council. Their alliance with China, Cuba, Russia and most of the African members means they can almost always achieve a majority. Human Rights Watch said the resolution could endanger the basic rights of individuals. The council, which last year replaced the discredited U.N. Human Rights Commission, has no power beyond drawing international attention to rights issues and scrutiny of abuses in certain countries. The move at the council was initiated last year after protests across the Islamic world drew attention to caricatures of Muhammad first printed in Danish paper Jyllands-Posten in September 2005.
On Tuesday December 12th, in the enclave of Ceuta, the Spanish police arrested eleven people supposed to belong to an islamist cell in the process of formation, according to the Spanish minister of the interior. The group is made up of ten Spaniards and one Moroccan. Among them were two brothers of Hamed Abderrahmane, called the “Spanish Taliban” because he had been detained for two years in the American prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Returned to the Spanish authorities in 2004, he was sentenced to 6 years in prison for belonging to al-Qaida, then pardoned in 2006 for a lack of proof. Since the beginning of the year, 45 people suspected of links to Islamic terrorism have been arrested in Spain.
Up to 2000 people from more than 50 Islamic organisations in Britain have demonstrated in London to condemn what they called heavy-handed procedures in the fight against global terrorism. “The basic message is that the Muslim community wants to voice its opposition to what it views as the oppression of the war on terror,” said Imran Wahid of Hizb ut-Tahrir, one of the groups behind the protest march. He said Muslims were angered by so-called control orders imposed by the British authorities on terrorism suspects, and by the US detention of terrorism suspects without trial at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. There were no incidents as the protesters – led by a banner reading United Against the Oppression of War on Terror – made their way to Paddington Green police station in west London, where terrorism suspects are questioned. “It is kind of symbolic because a lot of people are taken there and released without charge a couple of days later,” Wahid said. The march occurred five days before a general election in Britain which Prime Minister Tony Blair hopes will give his Labour Party a third straight term in office.
Brian Knowlton IHT WASHINGTON U.S. officials will soon release five of the nine British citizens detained at the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the British government announced Thursday. All were captured while allegedly fighting alongside Taliban militants against U.S. and British troops in Afghanistan A Spaniard was returned Friday to Spain, where he reportedly faced immediate interrogation by a magistrate investigating terrorism. The fate of about 10 other European detainees, including French, Swedish and German nationals, remained unclear. Negotiations over the release of British detainees had rotated partly around the sticky question of whether they would be jailed, tried or freed upon returning home. The Pentagon has announced plans to establish a panel to review detainees’ cases annually to see which of them posed no threat and could be released. But senior Defense Department officials said Feb. 12 that they expected to keep large numbers of the detainees for many years, even indefinitely. Some of the roughly 650 detainees have been held for as long as two years without being charged. To date, nearly 90 detainees have been released, and U.S. officials have suggested that more than 100 of those deemed less dangerous might be eligible for eventual release.