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Spain: Receiving of Guantanamo Detainees Considered

(Mar. 10, 2009) On February 26, 2009, European Union member countries met to evaluate the possibility of resettling terror suspects from the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Several prisoners have expressed their willingness to go to Spain. However, a number of legal issues need to be addressed before any commitment is made. Even though only those considered innocent would be transferred, more information, including classified data, needs to be available in order for the EU to be assured that there is no security risk in receiving those prisoners, according to news reports. (La UE pide a EE UU toda la informacion para evaluar la acogida de presos de Guantanamo, DIARIO EL PAIS, Feb. 26, 2009, available at

The Spanish Interior Minister, Alfredo PĂ©rez Rubalcaba, has explained that there are complex legal problems that need to be resolved before any determination is made, such as the legal status of each prisoner, the charges against them, and the status under which they would enter Spain. There is also the question of whether those prisoners with no charges pending against them, who do not want to repatriate because of fear of retaliation or death by their country's authorities, would be considered refugees Even though Spain has already expressed its desire to cooperate, some EU countries have not, and therefore another issue to consider is whether the resettled prisoners would be restricted in their right to freedom of movement within the Schengen Area of the European Union. (Id.)