Bern rejects asylum for Guantanamo inmates

Switzerland has turned down asylum requests from three inmates of the United States military prison at Guantanamo on the island of Cuba.

This content was published on November 13, 2008 - 21:29

The three - a Libyan, an Algerian and a Chinese – made their asylum applications earlier this year after US authorities signalled they were free to leave after seven years imprisonment if they found a safe haven.

The Federal Migration Office in Bern confirmed the decision on Thursday but gave no details, commenting that this concerned only the people concerned.

The Swiss section of Amnesty International said in a statement it was "very disappointed" at the decision and called on the government to review it.

"The Swiss recognised these people would be in danger if they returned to their own countries but they felt other countries were better able to receive them," said Amnesty Switzerland lawyer Alain Bovard.

Amnesty said earlier that the three were arrested in Pakistan in late 2001 or early 2002. They were among the first detainees in US custody sent to Guantanamo, set up in January 2002 to hold foreign terrorism suspects captured after the September 11 attacks on the US.

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