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Wednesday, 31 May 2006 - Brussels OJ edition

Situation of the prisoners in Guantánamo (debate)

  Cem Özdemir (Verts/ALE).(DE) Madam President, Mrs Plassnik, Mrs Ferrero-Waldner, Guantánamo has become a symbol of the removal of human rights and of procedures under the rule of law. It is easy for us Europeans to criticise the situation. We should not, however, just be drawing attention to states of affairs incompatible with human rights and the rule of law. Rather, we should be asking ourselves where our responsibility lies and in what ways we can help bring about a solution.

Even people found by the Americans to be innocent are unable to return to their home countries. The United States, too, correctly rules out sending these people back to countries in which they would be in fear of torture or persecution. We must together answer the question of what should instead happen to these people. The fate of the people in Guantánamo concerns us all and should not leave us indifferent.

Finally – and this is something that also ought to be emphasised today – European governments too have been involved in the extradition, and partly even in the interrogation, of detainees at Guantánamo Bay. That applies, for example, in the case of Murat Kurnaz. If we are seriously calling for Guantánamo Bay to be closed once and for all, we should transform our words into deeds.

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