Swiss urged to accept three Guantanamo inmates

The human rights organisation Amnesty International has called on Switzerland to accept three Guantanamo inmates held by the United States for more than six years.

This content was published on August 21, 2008 - 19:19

The three - a Libyan, an Algerian and a Chinese – are free to leave if they find a safe haven. Swiss authorities confirmed that they had received the applications for asylum.

"We have started examining these cases and will handle them according to the same criteria as other asylum requests received from abroad," commented Jonas Montani of the Federal Migration Office in Bern.

"Switzerland should accept this small contingent of three people to show the international community that the time has come to find a humanitarian solution. We have to help close down Guantanmo," Denise Graf, refugee coordinator for Amnesty's Swiss section told Reuters.

"They are at major risk of persecution if they are sent bak to their homelands."

She said 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.

She added that they were designated as enemy combatants but formal charges were never laid against them.

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