US to release two dozen Guantanamo prisoners
STOCKHOLM: The United States will release up to two dozen prisoners it considers to be a low security threat from its Guantanamo Bay military base, the US special ambassador for war crimes said on Wednesday.
Ambassador Pierre-Richard Prosper said arrangements were underway but did not want to say what nationalities the prisoners were or when they would be released.
“We have made agreements with these countries that we wait for them to do the announcements,” Prosper told journalists on the sidelines of a Swedish conference on preventing genocide.
“It is not only about transport, we are also trying to see if we can meet the desires of the particular detainees of where they go and when they go,” he said.
Around 660 suspected Taliban and al Qaeda members have been held at the Guantanamo Bay camp in Cuba since they were captured during the US-led war in Afghanistan, which began after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. Prosper said about 80 deemed no threat to security were released last year.
The detentions without trial have drawn worldwide criticism from governments and human rights groups concerned about the prisoners’ legal status and the conditions in the camp.
Prosper said the prisoners to be released were of low or no security threat. He said the United States was also in talks with several countries on sending home prisoners thought to be a medium threat, but could not say when that would happen.
“The issue is not in our hands, at this moment it is with the other governments. If they come back tomorrow it would be tomorrow,” he said.
But Prosper also said many prisoners needed further investigation. —Reuters