WASHINGTON, March 18, 2009 -- Some detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay could be released into the United States, while others might face criminal trials, Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters today.
"We are in the process of looking at all of the files of the people who remain held at Guantanamo so we can individualize determinations as to what should be done with them," Holder said.
Holder chairs the panel that has been charged with carrying out President Obama's order to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.
He said some of the detainees could be tried in U.S. courts, and also made the assertion that other detainees could be released into the United States.
"People who can be released, there are a variety of options that we have, among them is the possibility that we would release them into this country," he said.
"We have not made any determinations ... with regard [to] how we might handle those people," he said.
Holder declined to provide specifics about the ongoing plight of the Chinese Muslim Uighur detainees, who have been cleared for release from Guantanamo but have had their release delayed because no country is willing to accept them.
The United States will not send them to China for fear that they will suffer repercussions. The Uighur ethnic group of western China and Kazakhstan has been persecuted in China; in 2006 Albania had agreed to accept five Uighur detainees.
Holder Meetings With European Officials
Holder also said that in meetings with European Union officials Monday, he discussed the possibility of moving some of the detainees to E countries.
"We have asked nations around the world to consider the resettlement of some of the people who are at Guantanamo," he said. "They are concerned about who these people were."
Holder said that U.S. and EU officials have discussed information-sharing on the detainees' backgrounds.