Second former Guantanamo inmate arrives in Spain: government

4th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

The second of the five inmates from the US prison camp for terror suspects at Guantanamo, Cuba who Madrid has agreed to accept arrived in Spain on Tuesday, the interior ministry said.

The unidentified man is from Yemen and he does not have terrorism charges pending in the United States, the European Union or his home country, it said in a statement.

Spain has volunteered to take in five Guantanamo detainees, the biggest commitment from a European country, to help US President Barack Obama close the jail set up by his predecessor George W. Bush at a US navy base on Cuba in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The arrival of the second Guantanamo inmate comes ahead of a meeting in Madrid on Saturday between US Vice President Joe Biden and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, whose country holds the rotating six-month presidency of the EU.

The former Guantanamo detainees will be eligible to work and move around the country as they wish but will not be able to leave Spain.

The first former inmate, a Palestinian, arrived in Spain in February.

Washington has asked third countries to help close the notorious prison at the US navy base in southeastern Cuba by taking in detainees cleared of charges who cannot be sent back to their homelands, often because of fears they will be tortured.

Obama missed his self-imposed January 22, 2010 deadline to shutter the facility, which now has less than 200 inmates and which is widely seen as a symbol of abuses carried out in the name of the US war on Al-Qaeda and other extremists.

Most of the inmates have been held at Guantanamo without charge or trial on suspicions of terrorism.

US officials have said that since 2002, more than 580 detainees have left Guantanamo Bay for more than 40 countries, including Algeria, Bermuda, Chad, Egypt, France, Italy, Palau, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

© 2010 AFP

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