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Guantanamo prisoners: rumors now from the USA

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, August 27
The Washington Post recently published an article on the possibility of transferring Guantanamo prisoners from Cuba to Georgia. This article gave some substance to existing rumors in Georgia. Georgian officials either do not comment at all or comment by saying that they possess no factual information on the issue, as if it is a vast field of fantasy of Georgian journalists and analysts. However, the general attitude towards the possibility is more negative than positive. The Georgian media has expressed confidence in the Washington Post publication. It is a newspaper with a reliable reputation and it is not a tabloid. Whatever is published in it, is based on serious sources and Georgian commentators see no reason to distrust the paper.

So as uncertainty always creates many questions here they are: who initiated moving Guantanamo prisoners to Georgia? Was it the Georgian side or the US side? Georgian-US relations oblige Georgia to make certain commitments. Is this issue one of the necessary commitments? Analyst Irakli Sesiashvili points out that Georgia needs US support so much that it often agrees to any proposal without hesitation. Analyst Kakha Katsitadze goes further and suggests that the initiative comes from the Georgian side. However he thinks that this is only a hypothetical proposal and is not realistic. He thinks that Georgia has enough criminals itself.

Georgian analysts think that with this initiative Georgia wants to further please the US and therefore will receive extra assistance, such as funding to improve its penitentiary system. If Georgia does take some Guantanamo prisoners, the network of prisons might be improved and enlarged which presumably might involve resettlement of Georgian criminals serving their sentences in Georgian prisons.

The Washington Post even quoted an anonymous Georgian official who joked that Georgia is prepared to receive all of the Guantanamo prisoners if the USA establishes military bases in return.

Georgian analysts think that if the issue is on the agenda it should not be discussed on the government level only and the decision making process should be conducted only after serious consultations with political, military and legal experts. The consequences of taking these prisoners should be assessed in the most detailed manner . MP Davit Darchiashvili from the National Movement thinks that if such a decision is taken it should comply with international legislation and Georgian laws. All relevant procedures should be followed and should be transparent.

But the general reaction to this issue in the society is not positive at all. Analysts think that if such step is taken by the Georgian government the country could become vulnerable to many risks. “The country where such prisons exist is the target of terrorists,” states Analyst Irakli Sesiashvili. Mamuka Areshidze, expert on Caucasus issues says that it is absolutely unacceptable for Georgia to host Guantanamo prisoners. This will seriously harm relations between Georgia and its neighboring countries. “With this step we will strain relations with our non Christian neighbors,” thinks Areshidze.

Nonetheless, there is still no trustworthy information. Either Georgian officials have to confirm information or make an official statement that negotiations concerning Gunatanamo prisoners moving to Georgia are not underway. So, once again, Georgia, having enough problems for itself, is about to have to deal with another problematic issue.