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Guantanamo pair arrive in Republic

Published 28/09/2009

Two detainees released from Guantanamo Bay have arrived in the Republic of Ireland to set up a new home - but a leading charity has called for more to be sent north of the border.

The unidentified pair from Uzbekistan landed in Dublin on Saturday night and will enter a resettlement programme.

A third detainee held at the US military prison, Yemeni Alla Ali Bin Ali Ahmed, was returned to his home country. Amnesty International called on Northern Ireland to follow the lead of the Republic and accept detainees released from Guantanamo Bay.

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International's Northern Ireland programme director, said: “We applaud this humanitarian action from the Irish government and we now ask that the move be echoed in Northern Ireland, where we have considerable experience of prisoner release and reintegration.”

The First and Deputy First Minister should indicate to Downing Street and the White House that Northern Ireland was also ready to be part of the humanitarian solution to closing the camp, he added.

Ireland's Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said the two detainees should be given time and space to rebuild their lives.

“The resettlement of two detainees from Guantanamo Bay underscores Ireland's commitment, acting in common with our EU partners, to assist in bringing about the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention centre,” said Mr Ahern.

The Irish government previously said it was looking at taking in two Uzbek prisoners as the US feared detainees might be persecuted if sent back home.

The pair had been cleared by the US authorities for release from Guantanamo Bay as they were no longer considered by the US authorities to pose a security threat — but are not in a position to be sent home.

A team from the Department of Justice is currently assisting the men in a resettlement programme.

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