East Bay News

Groups urge Berkeley to welcome Gitmo detainees

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A coalition of human rights groups is asking Berkeley's city council to adopt a resolution welcoming certain detainees from Guantanamo Bay prison.

The group supports one or two detainees to make their home in Berkeley if they've been cleared by the U.S. government of wrongdoing and have been determined to pose no threat.

Currently, U.S. law bans detainees from settling in this country, but the Obama administration is asking other nations to allow them in. Germany, Ireland, and Denmark are among the countries that have.

"It is past time these men were given their freedom and allowed to rebuild their lives," Code Pink and Women For Peace Cynthia Papermaster said.

She is one of those behind the proposed resolution. There are approximately 174 Gitmo detainees and any cannot return to their homelands because of fear of persecution.

"I think we want to find out who they are, what they've done, whether they're cleared, how many, how they'll be paid for, where they'll be housed, how they'll get their feet on the ground. These are all questions I want answered before I just say bring them on," Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates said.

"This is typical liberal, wacko Berkeley," Golden Gate Minutemen member Steve Kemp said.

He says we should give detainees who've been cleared a few thousand dollars and send them back to their native countries.

The proposal is not likely to be up for a vote before December because it needs approval from the city's Peace and Justice Commission and public input.

If adopted, Berkeley would become the first city in California and the third in the nation. Amherst and Leverett, Massachusetts have adopted similar resolutions.

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Tags:
berkeley, protest, guantanamo bay, east bay news, carolyn tyler
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