Report: Australia may take Guantanamo inmates
AP - 51 minutes ago
SYDNEY, Australia - Australia will consider accepting detainees released from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay following an American request that it and other countries resettle former inmates, Australian media reported Saturday.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd cautioned, however, that any inmate admitted to Australia must be vetted through the usual channels.
"Any determination for an individual to come to Australia would be made on a case-by-case basis," Rudd's spokesman said, according to The Australian newspaper. "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."
Many European nations _ which have long been loath to accept detainees from the detention center _ have recently indicated a willingness to resettle inmates. Officials from France, Germany, Portugal and Switzerland have all said they are looking into accepting or are willing to accept detainees from the U.S. prison.
President-elect Barack Obama has pledged to close the prison and American officials have expressed concern that some detainees might be persecuted if returned to their home countries.
The two Australians jailed at Guantanamo have both returned. David Hicks, who was held at Guantanamo for 5 1/2 years without trial, was sent back after pleading guilty to supporting terrorism. He served a nine-month sentence in Australia. Mamdouh Habib, an Egyptian-born immigrant, was returned to Australia after being held at Guantanamo. No charges were ever filed against him.
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