Last Updated: Sun Oct 17, 2010 00:11 am (KSA) 21:11 pm (GMT)

Canada mulls Guantanamo detainee’s asylum

There are 176 detainees in the US military prison in Guantanmo Bay (File)
There are 176 detainees in the US military prison in Guantanmo Bay (File)

A Canadian government official is currently at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo to interview an Algerian detainee who is seeking asylum in Canada, sources told Al Arabiya.

The detainee, Djamel Amezian, 43, a Berber Algerian had lived in the French Canadian city of Montreal from 1995 to 2000 but had the Canadian government reject his request for asylum at that time.

If Amezian is granted asylum, this would be the first time the Canadian government resettles a Guantanamo detainee. This coincides with the current pressure Canada is facing to not intervene in the case of one of its citizen, Omar Khadr.

Omar Khadr has been accused of war crimes and is currently being tried in Guantanamo. Khadr was captured in Afghanistan when he was 15 years old.

No proofs of Amezian charges

Amezian, who has been a detainee at the naval base for the past eight years has not been charged with any crime. He had moved to Afghanistan after the Canadian government had refused his plea for asylum. He was captured as he was crossing the Afghani-Pakistan border. His lawyers say he didn't train to use any weapons and did not engage in any hostilities, and that he was turned to U.S. forces for a reward.

Since U.S. President Barack Obama took office, 64 detainees have been transferred from Guantanamo: 36 individuals to 25 different countries.

Currently there are 176 detainees remaining in the facility;

The majority of the 176 detainees in Guantanmo are Yeminis, and only four of the Yemeni nationals have won court ordered releases, but the details of their resettlements have not yet been worked out.

This comes at a time when 27 detainees have been approved for transfer on a U.S government review board's recommendation.

The U.S. does not repatriate detainees to their home countries if the country is on a list of states known to torture or mistreat their prisoners.

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