Italy not willing to accept former Guantanamo inmates

Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said his country was not in favour of accepting former inmates of the notorious US military base Guantanamo, saying European countries did not have the "legal means to keep them in prison."


AFP - Italy does not want Europe to accept ex-detainees from the Guantanamo military base, despite US President Barack Obama's request for help on the matter, Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said Saturday.

"The United States asked us to accept some detainees, not more than two or three, but I was not in favour," Maroni said after a two-day meeting of G8 nations' interior and justice ministers.

The issue had come up in talks with US Attorney General Eric Holder, said Maroni.

Maroni said he would raise the issue with his European opposite numbers on Thursday in Luxembourg but made clear he was "not favourable to accepting these detainees in countries not having the legal means to keep them in prison."

In the 25-nation Schengen zone -- within which there are no border identity controls -- "we cannot permit ourselves the liberty of leaving people suspected of terrorism at liberty," he added.

"The threat level for terrorism is already high enough. I would like to avoid raising it even more," he said.

On Friday at the G8 meeting, Holder thanked France, which earlier this month took in an Algerian former detainee from Guantanamo.

Maroni also announced that Italy would, exceptionally, re-establish border controls within the Schengen zone between June 18 and July 15, the period surrounding the G8 summit, set for July 8-10.

"It is normal procedure before such summits," he said.

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