Monday, August 31, 2009

Portugal Accepts Two Gitmo Detainees

The U.S. Department of Justice announced today that two Syrian nationals have been transferred from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the control of the government of Portugal. Here's the DOJ press release.

This news made me wonder whether the open-borders EU zone will permit those two lucky Syrians to freely travel to other EU states. So I checked the Portuguese Ministry of Interior website and found it's counterpart to the DOJ press release, which says that the answer is no.

Forgive the Google language tools translation from Portuguese, which ends up sounding like Lower Slobovian, but the meaning is clear enough:

The decision on the legal regime applicable to the entry into Portugal of these people followed the provisions of Article 68., Paragraph 1 and 2 of Law 23/2007 of 4 July. The above rules provide for humanitarian reasons recognized by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, a special visa that allows entry into and residence in the country of foreigners.

It should be noted that this scheme remains with the Portuguese state, those citizens in need of additional visas to travel to the territory of another Member State of the Union. This restriction stems from the common understanding adopted by the Council of Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs of the European Union, held on 4 and 5 June 2009 in Luxembourg.

Congratulations DOJ! You've had a little bit of progress since the last release of six detainees back in June. Two more down, and at least 226 still to go. At this rate - eight detainees released in three months - it will take seven years to empty Gitmo of its remaining detainees, so the administration had better hustle if it wants to meet its self-imposed deadline, which is only four months away.

No comments: