Hungary to receive ex-Guantánamo inmate

News Brief: Oct. 2009

Hungarian Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai announced Wednesday that his country would accept one former Guantánamo inmate, most likely a Palestinian man. The statement came after a meeting with Daniel Fried, U.S. special envoy for Guantánamo.

Bajnai said Hungary hoped to indicate with this step its dedication to the principles of human rights, dignity and freedom within the Trans-Atlantic Alliance.

Amid concerns of national security, Banjai and Fried said the Hungarian government had decided to accept the prisoner only after “long and careful preparations,” according to a report in the Budapest Times. Only a prisoner with clean international legal record would be accepted, he said, and Hungarian officials would supervise an 18-month integration period for the man.

Discussions between the U.S. and several EU member states over the prisoner transfers began in early 2009, shortly after U.S. President Barack Obama made it a policy point to close down the controversial prison camp. Hungarian Foreign Ministry officials had publicly supported the plan from its outset.

Both Fried and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have since publicly thanked those EU member states including Hungary for their willingness to accept the former prisoners. Other nations receiving ex-Guantánamo inmates include Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Belgium.

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