Washington: U.S. President Barack Obama is to step up efforts to persuade European Union and other countries to take inmates released from Guantanamo Bay, despite mounting concerns about former detenus turning up in Al-Qaida’s ranks after being released.
Vice-President Joe Biden said on Sunday he did not expect freed inmates would be allowed to remain in the U.S. “We won’t release people inside the United States,” said Mr. Biden in an interview with CBS, his first since being sworn in.
“They’re either going to be tried in courts, in military courts, or sent back to their own country.” Failing that, they would be sent to third countries, and Mr. Biden said there had already been offers to take them.
It was reported on Sunday that a second former Guantanamo inmate had been identified as a field commander in Yemen in a video on a jihadist website.
On January 23 another former inmate, Said Ali al-Shihri, was identified as the new deputy leader of the Al-Qaida network in Yemen.
According to the Pentagon, of more than 500 detenus that have been released since the camp opened, at least 18 have returned to combat and 43 others are suspected of resuming terrorist activities.
Newsweek reported the Pentagon is preparing to declassify part of a report on former inmates who have rejoined jihadist movements.
The Pentagon and the Attorney-General’s office believe about 60 to 80 inmates could go on trial.
The remaining 245 would be released, but many cannot be sent back to their own countries for fear of execution or torture.
Diplomatic sources expected that the EU would take some. Richard Howitt, a Labour Member of European Paliament (MEP), said on Sunday that the EU should show a readiness to take up to 60. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2009