DOS Cable re: Italian Senators Call for Debate on Guantanamo Detainees

State Department cable discusses a request made by members of the Italian Senate Foreign Affairs Committee have asked for a general debate on the status of the Al-Qaida and Taliban detainees at Guantanamo.

Doc_type: 
Cable
Doc_date: 
Friday, February 1, 2002
Doc_rel_date: 
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Doc_text: 

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O60CBF3 011757Z /38
R 011737Z FEB 02
FM AMEMBASSY ROME
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1932
INFO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
AMCONSUL FLORENCE
AMCONSUL MILAN
AMCONSUL NAPLES
SECDEF WASHDC
USINT HAVANA
NSC WASHDC
JOINT STAFF WASHDC
USCINCCENT MACDILL AFB FL

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E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL, MOPS, PHUM, SOCI, PTER, PGOVAD, AF, XD, IT
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SUBJECT: THREE ITALIAN SENATORS CALL FOR DEBATE ON
GUANTANAMO DETAINEES DESPITE LOW MEDIA AND PUBLIC INTEREST

1. SUMMARY. OPPOSITION CENTER-LEFT MEMBERS OF THE ITALIAN SENATE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE HAVE ASKED FOR A GENERAL DEBATE ON THE STATUS OF THE AL QAIDA AND TALIBAN DETAINEES AT GUANTANAMO. WHILE THE MAJORITY OF THE COMMITTEE WAS SATISFIED WITH THE STATEMENTS MADE BY MFA U/S FOR ASIA AND HUMAN RIGHTS MARGHERITA BONIVER AT A JANUARY 29 HEARING, THREE MEMBERS REQUESTED FURTHER DISCUSSION OF THE LEGAL AND POLITICAL ASPECTS OF THE ISSUE. NO ITALIANS ARE AMONG THE DETAINEES AND THE STORY HAS ATTRACTED LESS MEDIA ATTENTION IN
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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE -REVIEW AUTHORITY: SHARON E AHMAD
DOS-001884
DATE/CASE ID: 03 NOV 2004 200303827
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ITALY THAN IN MANY OTHER EU COUNTRIES. EMBASSY HAS BEEN

ACTIVE IN PRESENTING WASHINGTON GUIDANCE ON THE ISSUE TO

CONTACTS IN THE PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE, THE MFA AND MOD.

END SUMMARY.

2. RESPONDING TO SPECIFIC PARLIAMENTARY QUERIES FROM
CENTER-LEFT COMMITTEE MEMBERS ON THE CONDITIONS FOR THE
DETAINEES AT GUANTANAMO, BONIVER TOLD THE SENATE FOREIGN

. AFFAIRS COMMITTEE ON JANUARY 29 THAT FUNDAMENTAL LIBERTIES
MUST ALWAYS BE GUARANTEED AND NOTED THAT THE GOI AND THE EU
WOULD CONTINUE TO FOLLOW THE ISSUE CLOSELY. BONIVER ASSURED
THE SENATORS THAT THE GOI HAD CONTACTED US AUTHORITIES
IMMEDIATELY TO ASCERTAIN CONDITIONS AT THE DETENTION SITE.
SHE NOTED THAT A US CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION THAT VISITED
GUANTANAMO THE WEEK OF JANUARY 21 HAD FOUND THE CONDITIONS
ACCEPTABLE. THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS HAS ALSO VISITED THE
DETAINEES AND MADE RECOMMENDATIONS WHICH THE USG IS
CONSIDERING, SHE TOLD THE COMMITTEE.

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3. THE MOST DELICATE ISSUE FOR THE USG, BONIVER SAID, IS
WHETHER THE DETAINEES SHOULD BE ACCORDED PRISONER OF WAR
STATUS BECAUSE OF THE LEGAL IMPLICATIONS SUCH A DETERMINATION
WOULD HAVE_ BONIVER REVIEWED SOME OF THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE
GENEVA CONVENTION FOR THE COMMITTEE AND SAID SPECIFIC LEGAL
ISSUES REGARDING THE DETAINEES ARE BEING CONSIDERED BY THE
US. BONIVER EMPHASIZED THE EU'S REPEATED CALLS TO BALANCE
THE NEED TO COMBAT TERRORISM WITH RESPECT FOR THE JUDICIAL
PROCEDURES THAT ARE INTERNATIONALLY GUARANTEED FOR EVERY
DEFENDANT. THE STRUGGLE AGAINST TERRORISM MUST NOT BE
CARRIED OUT AT THE EXPENSE OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL
LIBERTIES, SHE SAID. ON THE CONTRARY, IT MUST PROVIDE
FURTHER EVIDENCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY'S FIRM
RESOLVE TO PROTECT THESE RIGHTS, WHICH TERRORISTS WANT TO
SHATTER.

4.•THE INITIAL INQUIRIES CAME FROM TWO CENTER-LEFT COMMITTEE
MEMBERS AND INCLUDED A REQUEST THAT THE GOI INTERVENE WITH
THE USG TO ENSURE THAT HUMANITARIAN CONDITIONS REQUIRED .UNDER
THE GENEVA CONVENTION ARE BEING PROVIDED FOR THE DETAINEES.
THE SAME TWO COMMITTEE MEMBERS, PLUS ONE FROM THE GOVERNING
COALITION, WERE THE ONLY MEMBERS TO CALL FOR FURTHER DEBATE.
A GENERAL DEBATE HAS NOT YET BEEN SCHEDULED. IN THE EVENT
ONE TAKES PLACE, IT COULD PROMPT GREATER MEDIA AND PUBLIC
INTEREST THAN THE MILD RESPONSE WE HAVE SEEN SO FAR.

5. IN A SEPARATE VOTE ON JANUARY 30, CENTER-LEFT SENATORS WHO

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DOS-001885

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WERE AMONG THE 19 VOTING AGAINST EXTENDING ITALY'S

PARTICIPATION IN INTERNATIONAL MILITARY ACTIONS STATED THAT
THEIR OPPOSITION ALSO INCLUDED OBJECTION TO THE DETENTION OF
THE GUANTANAMO DETAINEES WITHOUT DUE PROCESS. THE SENATE

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APPROVED THE GOVERNMENT'S DECREE TO EXTEND UNTIL MARCH 31
ITALY'S PARTICIPATION IN INTERNATIONAL MILITARY ACTIONS

(INCLUDING THOSE IN AFGHANISTAN, MACEDONIA, ALBANIA, FORMER
YUGOSLAVIA, KOSOVO, HEBRON, ETHIOPIA, AND ERITREA) BY A VOTE
OF 145 IN FAVOR AND 19 OPPOSED. THE DECREE . WILL NOW GO TO
THE CHAMBER.
SEMBLER

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Doc_nid: 
6491
Doc_type_num: 
68