DOS Memo re: Talking Points on the Release of Russian Detainees from Guantanamo

Press release contains talking points on the transfer of seven Russian nationals from Guantanamo bay detention to the Russian government.

Doc_type: 
Non-legal Memo
Doc_date: 
Friday, February 27, 2004
Doc_rel_date: 
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Doc_text: 

UNCLASSIFIED

DU S°
S/WCI Press Guidance

RELEASED IN FULL
February 27, 2004
Transfer of Russian Detainees from Guantanamo
Key Points
We are transferring seven Russian nationals from Guantanamo to the control of the Russian government for investigation and prosecution, as appropriate.
The U.S. Government is working to transfer many of the detainees at Guantanamo, under appropriate conditions, to other governments that are willing to accept responsibility for ensuring that the detainees will not pose a threat to the international community.
Various factors must be considered before a decision to transfer is reached, including the threat posed by the detainee, law enforcement interests, intelligence interests, and appropriate transfer terms, including humane treatment.
We have already transferred 6 detainees to foreign governments: 4 Saudis, 1 Spanish, and 1 Danish national. As recently announced, 5 UK nationals will be transferred in the .near future. In addition, more than 80 individuals have been released from Guantanamo Bay.
(IF ASKED)
Q. What assurances has Russia given you?
-- The United States has received assurances from Russian authorities that they will accept responsibility for the individuals and take appropriate and specific steps to ensure that they will not pose a threat to the United States and the international community. We have been advised that Russia will pursue criminal charges relating to their terrorist activities and prosecute, as appropriate. Russia has agreed to treat these individuals humanely in accordance with Russian law
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE REVIEW AUTHORITY: THEODORE SELLIN DATE/CASE ID: 15 DEC 2004 200303827 UNCLASSIFIED DOS-001637

UNCLASSIFIED
and obligations, and to provide the United States with access to the detainees
while they remain in custody.
-- The assurances we require are determined on a'case-by-case basis and are
the product of continued dialog and cooperation between governments.
Q. What is the status of the remaining Russian national?
-- One Russian national remains at Guantanamo.
Q. Have you considered the fears expressed by Russian relatives that
detainees were tortured by Russian authorities in the past and will be
persecuted and tortured on their return:

-- We have received assurances from senior Russian officials that the detainees
will be treated humanely in accordance with Russian law and obligations.
Russian obligations include those under the European Convention on Human
Rights, the United Nations Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman
or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights. We will also have access to the detainees while they remain
in custody. In these circumstances, we are satisfied that the Russian
government will honor its assurances, and the detainees will have the ability to
redress violations of these obligations under Russian law.

Q. Did any of these individuals raise persecution or torture fears, or otherwise
oppose return?

-- It is our policy not to comment publicly on any individual expressions of fears of
persecution or torture, nor to confirm or deny the existence of any such expressions.

• This policy is designed to protect any such individuals and their families.
Q. How do you square the release of these detainees and Russian
assurances with your recently released Human Rights Report which
notes that Russian law enforcement officials frequently use "torture,
violence and other brutal or humiliating treatment" and that prison
conditions are "frequently life threatening"?

-- As I have said, the Russian government has provided explicit written
assurances that these individuals will be treated humanely in accordance with
Russian law and obligations. Again, we are satisfied the Russian government will
honor these assurances.

Q: Will ICRC have access to the detainees in Russia?
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-- As we state in our Human Rights Report released February 25, the Russian Government has generally permitted the ICRC to conduct prison visits. Whether that would be the case with these detainees is a matter for the ICRC and the Russian Government.
DOS-001639

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• UNCLASSIFIED

Drafted: S/WCI:RMiller, 7-5093
Cleared: L/PM:JADolan (ok) P:BBrink (ok) D:SBeecroft (ok) EUR/RUS:AGreenberg (ok) PRM:Csantos (ok) DRL:Ccamponovo (ok)
DOS-001640
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Doc_nid: 
6386
Doc_type_num: 
63