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24 Mar, 2010 03:33

Georgia accepts Gitmo inmates

Three inmates from Guantanamo Bay prison have been transported to Georgia. The prisoners will be allowed to live as free men but have to stay within the country.

Tbilisi says it is accepting the inmates in a bid to help develop stronger ties with Washington.Meanwhile, more than 180 suspected terrorists are still held at the US Naval Base in Cuba. President Obama pledged to close the facility, but his administration is struggling to relocate prisoners.The former inmates pose no threat, head of the analytical department of Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, Shota Utiashvili said.“They didn’t commit any specific crime. They just felt sympathy for Al-Qaeda’s ideas or were members of the Taliban, but weren’t charged with any crimes,” he said.Georgia’s opposition, however, has voiced concerns over the move, saying it undermines national security.“Having three former detainees of the American military prison Guantanamo Bay on Georgian territory poses a serious terrorist threat to the country,” Secretary General of the “Movement for Fair Georgia” party, Petre Mamradze said.In the near future, the number of former Gitmo prisoners could rise, another opposition member, Giya Tsagareishvili, said.“Only six European countries have agreed to host Guantanamo inmates and there are 183 inmates to be relocated, so it’s not excluded that another three could join these first three, and then 30, and so on. And again, as happened with the first trio, this will be done without asking public opinion,” he said.