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Geneva to accept Guantanamo detainees

Published on 03/02/2009

GENEVA - Geneva became the first of Switzerland's 26 cantons to declare it would accept former Guantanamo Bay detainees, Swiss news agency ATS reported Monday.

Laurent Moutinot, a Geneva canton official, told ATS the canton responded favourably to a call from the Swiss government on the issue and that it based its decision on the canton’s humanitarian tradition.

Geneva, where humanitarian agencies such as the International Committee of the Red Cross are headquartered, only imposed one condition: that former detainees must be innocent and have no links to terrorist activities, said Moutinot.

Geneva’s offer will now be considered by the Swiss government, which earlier said it would consider granting asylum to former detainees.

In November, the Swiss migration office rejected applications by former detainees who were originally from Libya, Algeria and China.

Just two days after his 20 January inauguration, Obama signed an order closing Guantanamo Bay within a year, and demanding a review of each of the cases against the remaining prisoners in the remote base in southeastern Cuba.

He further ordered that all prisoners should be held according to the rights set out in the Geneva Conventions, and banned all forms of torture in the interrogations of those detained in the US "war on terror".

[AFP / Expatica]