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Maldives offers relocation to two Guantanamo men

Leg shackles used at Guantanamo Bay, January 2009
More than 180 Guantanamo detainees remain in captivity

The Maldives has offered to take two detainees from the US facility in Guantanamo Bay, the Indian Ocean state's president has said.

President Mohamed Nasheed said there was "no harm" in the offer, and said it would not violate any laws.

But the move is being resisted by an opposition party, which is reported to be taking legal action against the government over its plans.

Neither of the two detainees have been named.

More than 180 detainees remain in the controversial US prison for foreign terrorism suspects in Cuba.

The Obama administration, which aims to shut down Guantanamo, has struggled to relocate detainees deemed to no longer pose a threat to US interests.

Among the latest to be moved were two who were transferred to Switzerland in March. Georgia also took two the same month.

'Humanitarian offer'

Speaking in his weekly radio address, President Nasheed said: "It would show that we are a people who care about others as much as we can.

"I believe that refusing to help illegally imprisoned inmates, especially Muslims, when we have the chance would not be in accordance with the constitution, Islamic values and our Maldivian identity," he was quoted as saying by the Maldives newspaper Haveeru.

The government had initially denied that the US and Maldives had had official talks on a Guantanamo Bay transfer, it is reported. But the president said it was not a secret.

The state minister for foreign affairs, Ahmed Naseem, told AFP news agency: "It's an offer on humanitarian grounds, for two prisoners of the Muslim faith who don't have formal terror charges against them."

But opposition parties have objected.

The Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) is to file a case against the government over the plan.

The party claimed the government was not authorised under the constitution or the country's laws, Haveeru reports.

In a statement, the party said: "Because of President Nasheed's actions, the tourists' paradise would become a paradise for terrorists."

Another opposition party, the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), has submitted a case to the parliamentary National Security Committee.



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