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Government to ponder Guantánamo cases

The Swiss cabinet welcomes a decision by the new United States president, Barack Obama, to seek a temporary halt to trials at the Guantánamo Bay military prison.

The government reiterated that it considered the imprisonment of people at the US airbase on Cuba was contrary to international law, according to the Federal Chancellery.

The cabinet spokesman said on Wednesday Switzerland was prepared to consider the acceptance of prisoners released from Guantánamo following a thorough examination of legal and security aspects.

In November, the Federal Migration Office turned down asylum requests from three Gunatánamo inmates – a Libyan, an Algerian and a Chinese.

During his inauguration address on Tuesday, Obama highlighted the idea of respect for justice the rights of the individual.

He has repeatedly promised to close the Guantánamo camp where about 250 inmates are held suspected of having links to terrorism.

Human rights organisations have accused the US of holding inmates for years without being charged and many prisoners have complained of abuse.

In a reaction, the Swiss section of Amnesty International said Obama's move was a step in the right direction but said unjust procedures at the detention camp had to stop.

Switzerland's Dick Marty, who in 2005 led an investigation by the Council of Europe into alleged illegal CIA secret prisons Europe, has called on all those European countries which had criticised Guantánamo to "make an effort" to grant asylum to detainees when they were released.

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