Belgium agrees to accept Gitmo detainee

Sept. 5, 2009 at 11:32 AM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Belgium officials say they have agreed to accept a U.S. Guantanamo Bay terrorism detainee who has been cleared by U.S. courts.

A statement Friday from the Belgium Foreign Ministry didn't reveal the detainee's identity or specify his nationality, nor did it detail a timeline for the transfer, The Miami Herald reported.

"The individual in question is no longer facing prosecution,'' the statement said, which the Herald said suggested he was among the 19 detainees still held at Guantanamo who have been ordered freed by federal judges on habeas corpus grounds.

With the move, Belgium joins France and Portugal -- which have accepted two Syrian detainees for resettlement -- and Ireland in agreeing to repatriate Guantanamo inmates, the newspaper said.

U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered the prison be closed by early 2010. Some 226 captives have reportedly been cleared for release, but are fearful of returning to their own countries for fear of retaliation.

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