Portugal Offers to Take Gitmo Detainees

Move may help close prison
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2008 8:57 AM CST
In an image reviewed by the US military, razor wire topped fences line the Camp Six detention facility on the US Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008.   (AP Photo/Mandel Ngan, Pool)
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(Newser) – Portugal is willing to resettle some detainees freed from Guantanamo Bay, and it urged its fellow European countries to do likewise. It’s a diplomatic breakthrough that could help close the controversial US prison, the New York Times reports. Of the 250 detainees still in Guantanamo, 60 have been cleared for release but can’t be returned home for fear they’ll face persecution or torture there.

The US has long been prodding Europe for help, and Portugal is the first to respond. “We kept telling them it’s fundamentally unfair to keep criticizing Guantanamo while doing nothing to help,” said one State Department adviser. A Portuguese adviser said that the country was trying to lead the cleanup of “a US problem,” and that it had been assured it would get “the least dangerous people.” (Read more Portugal stories.)