Estonia To Grant Asylum To One Guantanamo Inmate ({{commentsTotal}})

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Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

The Estonian Government has decided to answer the United States' plea to accept a Guantanamo inmate who was never convicted of a crime.

Government PR officer Helin Vaher told ERR Uudised that a decision has been made, but an individual who will be brought to Estonia is yet to be chosen.

A man who will be released from Guantanamo prison could be granted asylum in Estonia.

Vaher said that some of those who will be released from Guantanamo are unable to return to their home countries because it poses a risk to their safety.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Urmas Paet, said that this decision showcases Estonia's will to aid US attempts to close Guantanamo for good.

"The bilateral relations between Estonia and the United States are important. It is essential that the two sides answer each other's requests and aid one another when possible," he said during a press conference today.

Hanno Pevkur, the Minister of Internal Affairs, said that this individual will probably file an application to be granted asylum as soon as he arrives in Estonia. The Ministry of Social Affairs will then do everything in its power to make sure that everything goes smoothly.

"The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) will guarantee that he has all the necessary legal grounds and documents to stay in Estonia," Pevkur said.

The U.S Embassy in Tallinn said that it welcomes the decision by the Government of Estonia to offer to resettle a detainee currently held at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility.

“The United States of America and Estonia enjoy an exceptionally close relationship marked by cooperation in countless areas and mutual support,” said Jeffrey Levine, U.S. Ambassador in Estonia. “Estonia’s support of our efforts serves as yet another example of that cooperation as well as the highly responsible role Estonia plays in international affairs.”

19 other countries have resettled detainees from Guantanamo since 2009.

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