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Denmark will not take Guantanamo prisoners

THE COPENHAGEN POST |

The US government needs to find new homes for prisoners in its Guantanamo detention centre that cannot be returned to their home countries, such as Syria and Yemen, because of ongoing instability.

Denmark was drafted as a possible country but, according to Politiken newspaper, foreign minister Villy Søvndal (Socialistiske Folkeparti) recently turned the American government down.

This is despite stating, while in opposition, that Denmark should allow released prisoners to find a home here.

“I don’t think it is a Danish job and this is broadly supported in parliament,” Søvndal told Politiken, despite in 2009 stating: “I think we should help Obama solve a problem that he inherited from his predecessor. Everyone should help clean up after this sad chapter in history.”

According to Politiken’s sources, Danish and American diplomats met yesterday in New York to discuss handing over the prisoners. Denmark apparently turned down the offer due to the high casualty rate among Danish forces in Afghanistan, an argument that was apparently accepted by the American diplomats.

Socialistiske Folkeparti has supported President Obama’s call for the closure of the controversial detention and interrogation centre in the American naval base of Guantanamo on Cuba.

Almost four years since Obama took office, however, the centre remains open and still houses 167 prisoners. Of these, the US states that 56 are ready to be released but cannot be returned to their home countries due to ongoing instability.

According to Politiken, several EU countries, such as Portugal and Belgium, have accepted prisoners that are innocent but cannot return to their home country. About 40 prisoners have been released in this way.

“We are deeply thankful to the countries that have accepted prisoners and we would be happy if someone offered to take the last ones,” Dan Fried, the American diplomat responsible with closing Guantanamo told Politiken.