Ireland to Accept Two Guantánamo Detainees
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By ALAN COWELL
Published: July 29, 2009
PARIS — As the Obama administration struggles to fulfill a pledge to close the Guantánamo Bay detention center in Cuba, the Irish justice minister said Wednesday that his country would accept two prisoners for resettlement.President Obama has pledged to close the camp by next January and has urged European to help by taking detainees for resettlement. But the idea has proven unpopular with America’s European allies, including those who called for the camp to be closed. In April, President Nicolas Sarkozy said that France would accept a single prisoner. Mr. Obama said last month that Italy has agreed to take three.
The Irish minister, Dermot Ahern, said the decision followed a visit to the camp by Irish officials last week, according to a statement by the Justice Ministry, and was confirmed when Mr. Ahern met the newly arrived American ambassador, Dan Rooney, the statement said.
Ireland would not not admit the two prisoners as refugees, Mr. Ahern said, but would “adhere to the norms of official procedure in respecting the rights of the two men to their privacy,” meaning that there would be no public disclosure of personal information about them, their families or their travel to Ireland.
He said the men would be transferred “within the next couple of months” and urged people “to allow them time and space to adjust to their new circumstances when they arrive.”
While the Irish authorities did not identify the detainees, The Associated Press quoted two government officials with knowledge of the case as saying both men are Uzbek nationals.
One, Oybek Jabbarov, 31, has been the focus of several months’ campaigning by Irish human rights groups seeking to bring him to Ireland, The A.P. reported, saying that the officials who provided the information spoke on condition of anonymity because they were breaching the government’s official position.