Switzerland: Former Guantanamo prisoners apply for asylum

Three detainees at the US Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba have applied for political asylum in Switzerland, reports said Thursday.

The men are from Libya, Algeria and China, the Swiss federal office for migration confirmed. The Chinese man is a member of China's Uighur Muslim minority.

The spokesman for the migration office, Jonas Montani, told dpa that the applications would be handled like any other.

According to Swiss media reports, the three asylum seekers have been released from the US prison camp without charge. The camp was set up following the 2001 attacks on the US for suspected terrorists.

Source: Expatica (English)


Daphne said...

Why do muslims choose to seek asylum in a non muslim country. Copuld it be because muslim countries are inhospitable to muslims.

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John Rohan said...

How can these asylum requests be handled "like any other"?

I thought you had to physically reach a country in order to apply for asylum status. Also, you are required to apply in the first free nation you reach, not go shopping around for the "best deal".

They could apply through the UN for refugee status, but then the UN would decide where to resettle them. Something seems wrong here.

I'm not an attorney, but if someone believes I'm wrong about any of the above, please let me know.

Esther said...

Hi John Rohan,

1. You don't need to physically reach a country. That is the most common method today, but it's not really what should be done. Technically, what these people are doing is the way it's supposed to be done - you apply and are either accepted or not. You don't show up and then claim asylum.

2. If you go to a country illegaly, then yes - the first country where you claim asylum, is the country which is supposed to take care of that asylum request. "Asylum shopping" though is very common, in the sense that most asylum seekers pass through several countries before claiming asylum.