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Germany: Accepting Guantanamo Detainees a Positive Step

Resettling Those No Longer Considered a Threat Helps Advance Effort to Close the Prison

(Berlin) - The German government's decision on July 7, 2010, to accept two Guantanamo Baydetainees for resettlement is an important step in closing down the prison, Human Rights Watch said today.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere announced that Germany will take two of the three Guantanamo detainees the US had asked Germanyto allow to resettle in the country. The detainees will be accepted by Hamburg and Rhineland-Palatine. The minister did not provide the men's names or nationalities.

"Chancellor Angela Merkel has long criticized unlawful detention at Guantanamo, and the action of the German government today will help advance the goal of closing down the prison," said Marianne Heuwagen, Germany director at Human Rights Watch. "We hope other countries will follow Germany's example."

Germany's decision toaccept two Guantanamo detainees who the US believes no longer pose a threat should be commended, Human Rights Watch said.

The US continues to hold 181 detainees at Guantanamo, although it intends to prosecute only 36 of them. While the US has refused to accept any Guantanamo detainees for resettlement in the US, France, Spain, Portugal, Albania, Bulgaria, and now Germany have stepped forward to assist in resettlement and to move efforts forward toclose the prison at Guantanamo.    

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