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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Jan Krc, the spokesman for the US embassy in Prague, has confirmed that the embassy had asked the Czech government to grant asylum to some Guantanamo Bay prisoners, Muslims of Chinese origin, who had formerly been suspected of being terrorists. Krc said that the Muslims face persecution if they are sent back to China.

Krc said the request was "a humanitarian request because we clearly need to place these people somewhere," adding that the ex-prisoners would have as much liberty as anyone else given asylum.

The Czech Republic's Interior Minister Frantisek Bublan said; "It concerns prisoners concentrated at the Guantanamo base, of whom membership of Al Qaeda has not been proved. We were asked if we could not include them here in an asylum process."

The Czech interior ministry spokesperson, Radka Kovárová, said that the Czech government turned down the Americans' request because; "Minister Bublan evaluated the whole issue and, bearing in mind potential security hazards, said he would not see offering asylum to these persons as appropriate."