Close Guantanamo

Chairwoman Hautala met on 26 January with US delegation, [:]

led by Ambassador Daniel Fried, Special Envoy for Closure of the Guantanamo Detention Facility and Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, to discuss the closure of Guantanamo. The discussion concerned especially the remaining challenges in closing the detention facility and the role of EU in this effort and most specifically what to do with the prisoners who still remain at the facility. [:]In the resolution, adopted on 4 February 2009, the European Parliament welcomes President Obama’s decision to close the Guantanamo detention facility but notes that, while the EU should cooperate with the US to find solutions to the issue, the main responsibility for closing the facility and for the future of the prisoners rests with the US.

European Parliament has pronounced repeatedly that the prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay must either be prosecuted or released. If the US administration considers that they have sufficient evidence against the detainees they should be properly tried and that this should be done without delay.

In this regard Chairwoman Hautala welcomed the Obama administration´s decision in November 2009 to prosecute five of the people suspected to be responsible for the 9/11 attacks in the federal court in the United States. This decision serves justice well. The previously used military commissions in Guantanamo are fundamentally inadequate to try such significant cases and any case of profound importance to civil liberties must be tried by an independent, fair and credible justice system, she stressed. Also, grave concern remains over the announcement that the US Attorney General Eric H. Holder would instruct prosecutors to seek death sentences for all five transferred for federal trial.

Chairwoman Hautala further stressed that the US remains in dire need of reviewing its detention policy and the implications of the Guantanamo Bay and other secret prisons on it on the whole and the EU should be fully invited to participate in this exercise. The approach of the US and EU to fighting terrorism differed as to the legal framework they perceived to operate in, but cooperation with regards illegal detention, secret prisons and transfers was very close nevertheless, it now seems. Ms Hautala strongly hopes that Europe will one day come clean of its own involvement in the related CIA operations, “If there is no accountability for human rights violations in the name of anti-terrorism in Europe, we have exposed the future generations to the recurrence of these horrors.”