Obama finds Pacific solution for Gitmo detainees - Australasia - World - The Independent

Obama finds Pacific solution for Gitmo detainees

The remote Pacific island nation of Palau has agreed to a United States request to temporarily resettle up to 17 Chinese Muslims now held at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre on Cuba.

Palau President Johnson Toribiong said the Administration of President Barack Obama made the request last week and that his country was "honoured and proud" to resettle the detainees from China's Uighur minority as a humanitarian gesture.



His archipelago, with a population of about 20,000, would accept up to 17 of the detainees subject to periodic review, Toribiong said.



The move came as a Guantanamo Bay detainee walked into a civilian US courtroom for the first time yesterday, underscoring the Obama Administration's determination to close the Cuban prison and hold trials in the US despite Republican alarms about bringing terror suspects to America.



Ahmed Ghailani, a Tanzanian accused in two American embassy bombings a decade ago, pleaded not guilty - in English - in a brief but historic federal court hearing that transported him from open-ended military detention to the civilian criminal justice system.















Obama has said keeping Ghailani from coming to the US "would prevent his trial and conviction".



Taking a drastically different stance, House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio labelled yesterday's move "the first step in the Democrats' plan to import terrorists into America".



Ghailani, accused of being a bomb-maker, document forger and aide to Osama bin Laden, was brought to New York to await trial in connection with al Qaeda bombings that killed 224 people - including 12 Americans - at the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998.



US marshals took custody of Ghailani from his military jailers and transferred him to a federal lockup in lower Manhattan that currently holds financial swindler Bernard Madoff, and once held mob scion John "Junior" Gotti and blind terror leader Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman.



Short and slim with a wispy goatee, Ghailani walked into the courtroom without shackles or handcuffs, wearing a blue jail smock.



Asked by the judge if he wanted her to "read this big fat indictment", he conferred with his lawyer, said it was not necessary and made his plea: "Not guilty."



Ghailani's trial will be an important test case for Obama's plan to close the detention centre at Guantanamo in seven months and bring some of the terror suspects there to trial.



The Obama Administration sought a solution for the Chinese detainees after a Pentagon determination that they were not "enemy combatants".



A federal judge last year ordered the Uighur detainees released into the US. But an appeals court halted the order, and they have been in legal limbo ever since.



Two US officials said America was prepared to give Palau up to US$200 million ($315 million) in aid in return for accepting the Uighurs and as part of a mutual defence and co-operation treaty that is due to be renegotiated this year.



The US would not send the Uighurs back to China for fear they will be tortured or executed.



Beijing says Uighur insurgents are leading an Islamic separatist movement in China's far west and wants those held at Guantanamo returned to China.



Palau is one of a handful of mainly Pacific island, Latin American and African countries that do not recognise China and maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan.



Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman Emma Reilly said that the New Zealand Government had never been approached to take prisoners from Guantanamo Bay.



A former US trust territory in the Pacific, Palau has retained close ties with the US since independence in 1994.



It relies heavily on US aid and is dependent on the US for its defence.

This article is from The New Zealand Herald

Suggested Topics
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Science Teacher required for a lovely Ramsgate Secondary School

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education is working in...

SEN Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an SEN Teacher loo...

Teacher

£110 - £125 per day + Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone: Randsta...

Year 2 Teacher and Group Lead

£110 - £125 per day + Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone: Randsta...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week