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Viewing cable 09PARIS381, S/WCI OFFICIALS DISCUSS GUANTANAMO BAY DETAINEES

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09PARIS381 2009-03-16 16:04 2010-11-30 16:04 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Paris
VZCZCXRO3359
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV
DE RUEHFR #0381/01 0751623
ZNY SSSSS ZZH (CCY AD40E4BD MSI7190-632)
P 161623Z MAR 09 ZDS
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5776
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
SS E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 000381 

NOFORN 
SIPDIS 

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y FOR MISSING NOFORN CAPTION 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/15/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER PHUM MOPS KAWK KISL KPAO FR
SUBJECT: S/WCI OFFICIALS DISCUSS GUANTANAMO BAY DETAINEES 
WITH FRENCH OFFICIALS 

REF: PARIS 264 

PARIS 00000381 001.3 OF 002 


Classified By: Acting POL MC W. William Jordan for reasons 1.4 (B & D). 

1. (S/NF) SUMMARY: France accepted four former Guantanamo Bay 
(GITMO) detainees with claims to immigration status in France 
in July 2004 and an additional three in March 2005. Ministry 
of Interior contact Christophe Chaboud noted that, unlike 
other European countries visited by Washington officials (UK 
and Albania), the majority of detainees repatriated by France 
are still considered a security risk and are treated as such. 
With the exception of the one detainee released without 
prejudice (out of seven detainees repatriated), the French 
intelligence service actively monitors the others and judges 
they have not ceased association with persons tied to 
extremist activities. France is still working to advance the 
detainee issue within the EU and is considering accepting 
detainees (reftel). French MFA DAS-equivalent for security 
affairs Martin Juillard and Laurent Pic of Prime Minister 
Fillon's office stressed that an EU common position would be 
of "clear interest" to the USG, warning that countries might 
attempt to "cherry pick" detainees if a framework were not in 
place. Juillard added that a common approach would also 
create a more fluid process for moving detainees. France 
would appreciate as much information as possible from the USG 
to help push the issue within the EU and in securing French 
public support. Pic noted the mid-March meetings in 
Washington with EU Vice President Jacques Barrot and the 
Czech minister of interior could help to resolve many of 
these issues. END SUMMARY. 

French Approach to Detainee Reintegration 
----------------------------------------- 

2. (S/NF) France accepted four former detainees with claims 
to immigration status in France in July 2004 and an 
additional three in March 2005. In a March 10 meeting with 
Ministry of Interior contacts Christophe Chaboud, Phillippe 
Hanin and Francois Thuillier, and Ministry of Justice 
official Philippe Tran Van, Chaboud noted that, unlike the UK 
and Albania, the majority of detainees repatriated by France 
are still considered a security risk and are treated as such. 
Of the seven detainees originally repatriated, only Mustaq 
Ali Patel was released without prejudice. Chaboud explained 
that Patel was a religious fundamentalist who had been held 
by the Taliban and was not deemed to be a threat. The six 
other former detainees were held in custody and tried. Five 
were convicted and sentenced to prison terms ranging from one 
to one and half years. Chaboud explained that while all six 
of the detainees were considered extremists, only five had 
trained in terrorist training camps. An appeals court 
overturned the conviction of the five on February 24, saying 
the security services who interviewed the defendants at GITMO 
did not have the legal authority to do so. Although the 
court case is ongoing and it is unclear if the reversal will 
stand, the French security services will continue to monitor 
the former detainees regardless of the final outcome of the 
legal battle. The French intelligence service explained that 
they actively monitor the repatriated detainees. Philippe 
Hanin said that France still considers the six former 
detainees a security risk. When pressed, Hanin added that 
the detainee of greatest concern is Brahim Yadel, whose 
history of large wire transfers has worried investigators 
(Yadel was also suspected of plotting to attack the 1998 
football World Cup in France). 

EU Common Position: Still in Process 
------------------------------------- 

3. (S/NF) French MFA DAS-equivalent for security affairs 
Martin Juillard and Laurent Pic of Prime Minister Fillon's 
office clarified the evolving EU approach to a common 
position for accepting Guantanamo detainees. While an EU 
common position has still not been established, France has 
been working with EU partners since January 2009 to formulate 
a position that would take into consideration security 
issues, especially for Schengen countries (reftel). Pic 
noted that previous EU acceptance of Palestinians from the 
Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem (reftel) could serve as a 
useful precedent for granting residency permits within the 
Schengen system. Pic added that the discussions within the 
EU are still quite difficult; the French are looking for ways 
to put in place a procedure for accepting detainees while not 
pressuring countries that are unwilling to resettle them. 

4. (S/NF) Juillard explained that an EU common position would 
be of "clear interest" to the USG to avoid "cherry picking" 
by EU countries willing to accept detainees as well as 
creating a more fluid process for moving detainees. That 
said, Pic noted that there were some EU members -- 
unspecified -- still resistant to the idea of accepting 
detainees. For this reason the GOF would appreciate as much 

PARIS 00000381 002.2 OF 002 


information as possible from the USG to help push the issue 
within the EU and to secure French public support. Some of 
the EU debate over a common position, Juillard said, needed 
to focus on forming some procedures to create contingency 
plans when a detainee's first choice of accepting country is 
refused by that country. Perhaps, he suggested, the GOF, EU 
and USG could work together collectively to craft a mechanism 
for other EU countries to help fill the void. Juillard and 
Pic noted that the idea of a clearing house (reftel) as part 
of a common position was intended to provide a data-sharing 
mechanism rather than as a forum for collective 
decision-making, which the French believe would hinder the 
decision-making process. 

Increased Coordination and Additional Issues 
-------------------------------------------- 

5. (S/NF) Juillard said the GOF needed to know the status of 
the USG's review process. He noted that since Prime Minister 
Fillon and Foreign Minister Kouchner announced that France 
would consider accepting detainees (reftel), French public 
opinion has continued to sour. France realizes that the 
issue will be a tough sell to the French public, so any help 
the U.S. can provide to assist the GOF with selling the idea 
to the French public would be greatly appreciated. Another 
"sensitive" concern for the French is the possibility of 
extradition of former Guantanamo Bay detainees as well as 
prosecutions and detentions, Juillard said. In addition, the 
French would like to have more information on reintegration 
procedures so that detainees did not resume terrorist 
activities. Such procedures could be legal and financial. 
Before France could consider accepting detainees, the GOF 
would like to interview the detainees in such a way that 
would "not cause" legal problems, Juillard said. Pic said 
France and the EU hope many of these issues will be resolved 
during the mid-March meetings in Washington with EU Vice 
President Jacques Barrot and Czech Minister of Interior 
Langer. 

PEKALA