Colombia confirms US request to take in Guantanamo prisoners

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-3-28 15:19:41

Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin confirmed on Thursday that the US Government has asked Colombia to receive some detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Colombia's El Tiempo daily network reported.

According to Holguin, Colombia has not yet given a response to the request because it has not analyzed the implications of such a decision. US President Barack Obama has pledged to close the detention centre, located in Cuba, and free the 154 remaining prisoners.

"We have heard carefully the request from the US, we have not advanced absolutely anything with them on this issue... we have not responded on this issue," Minister Holguin said.

The official added that Colombia fully understands the need for Guantanamo Bay detainees to continue with their lives and welcomes the US approach.

Holguin's statement was given shortly after Colombia's Minister of Justice Alfonso Gomez Mendez said Colombia would not take in detainees given the overcrowding in the country's prisons.

Speaking in response to an article by Uruguayan magazine Busqueda claiming Colombia and Brazil could agree to take in prisoners from the US military base, he said: "No, I do not know, I am not aware of this, and I know that in the Foreign Minister does not know about this issue."

The only country in the region to have so far confirmed the request from US President Barack Obama to take in Guantanamo detainees is Uruguay. President Jose Mujica said the country would host five of them.

Guantanamo Bay has been used since 2002 to hold terrorist suspects captured after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, but drew criticism for holding many prisoners without trial or bringing charges against them.

Since taking office, Obama has taken steps such as resettling detainees to reduce the number of prisoners to 154.

Posted in: Americas

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