Maldives offers to take two Guantanamo Bay prisoners

May 16, 2010 (AFP) – The Maldives has offered to take two detainees held by the United States at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba, in what it described as a humanitarian gesture, the foreign minister said Sunday. US President Barack Obama, who has vowed to close the “war on terror” camp, has asked allies to help resettle prisoners who have been cleared of all charges but cannot return home, often over fears they may be tortured.

“We are in discussions with the American government to transfer two prisoners of Muslim origin on humanitarian grounds,” Foreign Minister Ahmed Shaheed told AFP by telephone from Kazakhstan.

“The two prisoners are innocent, they don’t have any formal record of terrorism, violence or extremism,” Shaheed said.

One of the prisoners is Palestinian, while the other was not identified.

“The Palestinian man has no family. He has no past record of terrorism or violence. He has no political links and he belongs to an evangelical Islamic sect,” Shaheed said.

He added that some legal issues still needed to be resolved, such as the pair’s status in the Indian Ocean atoll nation.

Obama had promised to close the notorious naval base prison by January 22 but his administra