Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed [official website] has offered to accept two detainees held at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive], discussing his decision [press release] during his weekly radio address on Friday. The offer is being described as a humanitarian gesture, but opposition parties have objected [BBC report] the move of the detainees. The Dhivehi Qaumee Party has threatened to file a case against the government for violating national security, and the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party [party websites, in Dhivehi] has submitted a case to the parliamentary National Security Committee [official website, in Dhivehi]. Nasheed encouraged those opposing the decision to submit their complaints and explained the offer, saying:
In my view, it is not in line at all with our Constitution, Islam, or 'Maldivianness' that we refuse to help especially Muslims, especially those wrongly imprisoned.The prisoners have not been identified, but one is known to be from Palestine [AFP report]. The only Maldivian held at Guantanamo, Ibrahim Fauzee, was flown home in May 2005 after being arrested in 2002 while studying Islam in Pakistan.
The Obama administration continues its push to close the Guantanamo Bay facility, despite missing its self-imposed one-year deadline [JURIST report] in January. The administration has run into several hurdles in closing the prison, including opposition from members of Congress and the suspension of detainee transfers to Yemen [JURIST report]. Earlier this month, Spain and Bulgaria each accepted [JURIST report] their second detainees in response to a June request [AFP report] by the Obama administration. If they agree to accept the detainees, the Maldives will be part of a growing list of countries that have recently accepted transfers, including Bulgaria, Spain, Georgia, Albania, Latvia, Switzerland, Slovakia, Algeria, Somaliland, Palau, Belgium, Afghanistan, and Bermuda [JURIST reports].