Recent news reports the release of several former Guantanamo prisoners of British and and update on more of French nationality. But it didn’t make the news because of the controversy surrounding their detainment, but instead because they seem to indeed have been rightly jailed. According to the BBC:
Five Frenchmen who spent time at the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay have been convicted of having links to terrorism by a court in Paris. All five were sentenced to one year in jail plus a suspended sentence, but will not return to jail having spent more than a year in US custody. The five were arrested in Afghanistan, where the US said they had travelled to fight with the Taleban.
For a country that has been historically tough on terrorism, it seems odd that a leftist lawyer would recommend suspended sentences rather than the 10 years that would have been called for. Nevertheless, it does go to show you that despite mistakes and legitimate concerns, Guantanamo isn’t filled with innocent men who just happened to be mingling with the wrong folks in Afghanistan. In British news, three recently released inmates sent back to the UK were immediately detained and face an uncertain future. UK authorities plan to decide whether criminal charges will be brought or whether they will be free to go as well as their immigration status.
While a dangerously stupid policy of rewards led many to turn in tribal enemies to the Americans as “terrorists,” the controversy masks a more important reality, what to do with those from country A, caught fighting in country B and detained by country C. Until this issue is discussed in earnest by Europe and the United States minus the protests, holier-than-thou attitudes and other silliness, Guantanamo will continue to fill a “market gap.” Perhaps the real way forward is maintaining US control but with foreign liasons on site and using Guantanmo as a processing center through which terrorists are sent back home to face trial.