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Europe

Europe Urged to Protect Innocent Guantanamo Detainees

The Council of Europe has urged European governments to protect Guantanamo Bay detainees who have been cleared of terrorist links but who risk persecution when they return home.

A detainee at Guantanamo Bay

Innocent prisoners who return home from Guantanamo may face persecution

In a statement on their Web site, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) said it was worried about the fate of Guantanamo detainees who have been cleared of all suspicion of terrorist activity, but who cannot return to their home countries because they would risk persecution.

The statement continued by urging European governments, who have called on the US to shut down the detention center for terrorist suspects in Guantanamo Bay, "to let deeds follow their words and provide humanitarian protection for detainees who cannot return to their home countries."

Appeal to McCain, Obama

The report stated that the Council wanted to send a clear signal to US presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama, who have said they want to close the controversial detention center in Cuba.

"Both presidential contenders have expressed a desire to close down Guantanamo and will need the cooperation of European partners," the report added.

McCain and Obama are drawing up plans on how to close the Guantanamo detention camp, but they differ on the question of which suspects should be tried and before which type of court.

Republican candidate McCain favors the continuation of special military tribunals, despite lawyers' criticism that they disregard important defense rights. Meanwhile, his Democrat rival prefers moving the accused suspects to a civil court or a normal military tribunal.

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