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Page last updated at 10:12 GMT, Wednesday, 29 July 2009 11:12 UK

Ireland to take Guantanamo men

detainee at Guantanamo Bay
Guantanamo Bay detention centre is to close in 2010

The Irish government has said it will allow two inmates being freed from the Guantanamo Bay prison camp to live in Ireland.

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern made the announcement on Wednesday after a meeting with US Ambassador Dan Rooney.

Mr Ahern says Irish officials visited Washington and Guantanamo last week and identified two men who could be resettled in Ireland within the next two months.

The men are understood to be Uzbeks.

It comes six months after President Barack Obama asked European countries to help find new homes for released inmates.

So far, few countries have agreed to take ex-Guantanamo prisoners who say they cannot return safely to their homelands.

Persecution

Amnesty International in Ireland has been running a campaign for Uzbek national Oybek Jamoldinivich Jabbarov to be allowed to come to Ireland.

He has been cleared for release from Guantanamo, but cannot return to Uzbekistan for fear of torture and persecution.

His lawyer, Michael Mone, told a US congressional committee hearing last year that Mr Jabbarov was living with his elderly mother and pregnant wife as refugees in northern Afghanistan when he was captured in 2001 and later transferred to the detention centre on Cuba.

The Uzbek had not been involved in fighting between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance and was most likely handed over for a bounty, he said.

In June, Ireland's then Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin said they had told US authorities Ireland would accept two detainees to help close the detention facility, and two Uzbek nationals had been identified by the US.

The men will probably be given "leave to remain" status in Ireland.

Amnesty International said that Mr Jabbarov's wife and child were in a refugee camp in Pakistan and that he would be able to apply for them to join him.

US President Barack Obama has said Guantanamo Bay prison will close by 22 January 2010.

It was set up in January 2002 to hold suspects deemed to be "enemy combatants".



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