Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Guantanamo Bay: Should Europe help America - or is a case of, they made it, they deal with it?

One of President Obama's first acts was to order the closure of the Guantanamo camp in Cuba. The question now is where the inmates will go. European leaders are still debating whether to take any detainees. MEPs will debate the issue Tuesday afternoon from 1500 CET. EP News asked some MEPs for comments ahead of the debate and we want your comments on whether the EU should take in Guantanamo prisoners.

In 2006 MEPs voted by a large majority to call for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay facility, where suspected terrorists have been held by the US since 2001.

Each case will be reviewed individually with some going for trial in the US and others being freed. All trials at the camp - including that of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - have been suspended pending review.

Below are the views of some Members. If you would like to add your comments please click on the first link below and scroll to the bottom of the article.

YES - we should help America

Spanish Socialist Bárbara Dührkop, whose husband was killed by ETA terrorists, said: "If the US says that we can contribute to a solution, I think that Europe should cooperate, show solidarity and help by taking in prisoners. But it needs to be decided on a case by case basis."

German Liberal Alexander Alvaro said: "For years we Europeans have pretended to be the moral conscience of the Bush administration and demanded the immediate closure of Guantanamo. Now there is a US President who, out of conviction, wants to do just that but who needs us to help. And what do we do? We let him down. I expect us to assume our human responsibility and do what we can to take in prisoners from Guantanamo."

Dutch Green Kathalijne Buitenweg, believes European countries should assume responsibility for the "fair and safe treatment of prisoners", especially those who cannot be sent back to their countries of origin. "For example the Uyghurs - Chinese, Muslims - can go neither to the US nor return to their country, where they could face torture."

NO - it's a US problem and inmates are dangerous

German Christian Democrat Manfred Weber sits on Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee. He welcomes the fact that the Obama administration wants to close Guantanamo within a year but is firm about what Europe should do: "The US alone is responsible for the prisoners. They set up the camp. Why should Europe take in people who might pose a danger? Obama has to solve his problems himself. "

Danish UEN MEP Mogens Camre takes a trenchant line: "The prisoners in Guantanamo are not the EU's problem. Taking them into EU states is a sick idea. We mustn't take more terrorists into Europe. The EU has enough terrorists. These people are dangerous, they have to be sent back home. If they were innocent they wouldn't be in Guantanamo. It would be mad to take them here; they would kill European citizens."

Source: European Parliament
Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
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