Slovakia is set to accept three more men formerly imprisoned at the US military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, public-service broadcaster RTVS has reported.

The Interior Ministry in a December 31 statement said that none of the three detainees - all Chinese citizens and members of the Uighur ethnic group - have ever been suspected or convicted of terrorism. According to further information acquired by the TASR newswire, the former inmates have already been transported to Slovakia.

This is the second time that Slovakia has accepted former prisoners from the Guantanamo base. Another three men of Egyptian, Tunisian and Azerbaijani origin were brought to the country in 2010. All of them had spent eight years imprisoned at Guantanamo as the American authorities suspected them of co-operating with terrorist organisations. According to the available information, at least two of them have already left Slovakia, where they had been under a form of protective watch.

“The Slovak Republic in 2009 welcomed the decision of US President Barack Obama to close down the controversial prison in Guantanamo,” reads the ministry's statement. “Back then, we joined an initiative of a number of NATO-member countries, EU-member and other states, accepting three people formerly imprisoned at this jail and providing them with all the conditions to start a new life in Europe in 2010.” The ministry declined to provide any further details regarding the identities of the latest prisoners or the decision to accept them.

The US Defence Department announced, as quoted by TASR, that the three detainees are the last Chinese-Uighur people released form Guantanamo. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Media Operations John Kirby said their names are Yusef Abbas, Hajiakbar Abdulghupur and Saidullah Khalik. He also thanked Slovakia for the humanitarian gesture and for the willingness to support US effort to close down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, according to TASR. US Ambassador to Slovakia Theodore Sedgwick also praised the step and its role in closing the Guantanamo Bay facility.

(Source: TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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