- Australia - Guantanamo - USA
AFP - The Australian government may accept released Guantanamo Bay detainees for resettlement at the request of the United States, but only after rigorous case-by-case assessment, a report said Saturday.
"Australia, along with a number of other countries, has been approached to consider resettling detainees from Guantanamo Bay," a spokesman for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told The Weekend Australian newspaper.
"Any determination for an individual to come to Australia would be made on a case-by-case basis.
"All persons accepted to come to Australia would have to meet Australia's strict legal requirements and go through the normal and extremely rigorous assessment processes," the spokesman said.
US president-elect Barack Obama has promised to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba after taking office next month, raising the question of what to do with the remaining 250 inmates held without charge or trial.
Some of the prisoners, alleged "enemy combatants" captured since 2001 by US and allied forces around the world during the so-called war on terror, are no longer considered a threat by US authorities and will be resettled.
The prisoners come from various countries, mostly in the Middle East, and some may want to go home. Others face renewed arrest in their homelands and could face torture or lengthy incarcerations.
Europe has reacted cautiously to the idea of resettling former inmates, with some countries seeking a concerted European approach and others already opposed to the idea.
The Netherlands went furthest, ruling out accepting any newly freed inmates, despite broad European support for Obama's promise to shut down the notorious military detention centre.
Portugal and Germany have signalled they might accept detainees, but France was cautious, welcoming the camp's imminent closure, but calling for a common European position.
Two Australians formerly held at Guantanamo have already been resettled in their home country.
So-called "Australian Taliban" David Hicks was held for five years before being convicted last year of providing material support for terrorism and being returned to Australia to serve nine months in jail before release.
Another Australian, Mamdouh Habib, was released from Guantanamo Bay without charge in 2005.