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Viewing cable 09TUNIS415, GOT ASKS EUROPEANS NOT TO TAKE TUNISIAN GUANTANAMO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TUNIS415 2009-06-23 15:03 2010-11-30 16:04 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Tunis
VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTU #0415/01 1741549
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 231549Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY TUNIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6474
RUEAWJA/DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
INFO RUCNMGH/MAGHREB COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN IMMEDIATE 0186
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID IMMEDIATE 0546
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME IMMEDIATE 0804
S E C R E T TUNIS 000415 

NOFORN 
SIPDIS 

STATE:NEA/MAG (SWILLIAMS, MNARDI, MHAYES) 
ALSO FOR DRL:KMCGEENEY, S/WIC:ARICCI 
PASS DOD/OSD:ALIOTTA, DOJ/ODAG:MSTRANSKY 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/23/2019 
TAGS: PHUM PREL KDRG PTER TS
SUBJECT: GOT ASKS EUROPEANS NOT TO TAKE TUNISIAN GUANTANAMO 
DETAINEES 

REF: A. TUNIS 407 
B. TUNIS 339 
C. TUNIS 32 
D. 08 TUNIS 1137 AND PREVIOUS 

Classified By: Ambassador Robert F. Godec for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 

------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 

1. (S/NF) A senior MFA official convoked the German, Italian 
and Spanish Chiefs of Mission June 19 to inform them the GOT 
wants the Tunisian detainees in Guantanamo Camp returned 
home. According to the European COMs, the implicit message 
was that their governments should not accept the US request 
to take Tunisian detainees. The COMs have informed their 
capitals, but have no response yet. In a meeting June 22, a 
small group of Ambassadors (including the German and Italian 
COMs) discussed the MFA demarches. Among the Ambassadors, 
views differed on the risks to Tunisian prisoners, but some 
said there is a possibility of torture or mistreatment for 
anyone accused of terrorism. End Summary. 

------------------- 
EUROPEANS DEMARCHED 
------------------- 

2. (S) Following FM Abdallah's meeting on Guantanamo 
detainees with Ambassador Godec on June 18 (Ref A), the MFA 
convoked German Ambassador Horst-Wolfram Kerll, Italian 
Ambassador Antonio D'Andria and Spanish Charge Santiago 
Miralles Huete to separate meetings on June 19. 

3. (S) In the meetings, MFA Secretary of State for Maghreb, 
Arab and African Affairs Abdelhafidh Hergeum delivered a 
demarche similar to that given to Ambassador Godec, 
specifically: 
-- Tunisia wants its citizens in Guantanamo returned, 
-- Tunisia does not torture and has signed the Convention 
Against Torture, 
-- Tunisia's image would suffer if the detainees were sent to 
other countries. 
The implicit message from Hergeum, according to the European 
COMs, was that their countries should not agree to the US 
request to accept Tunisian detainees. The three officials 
have informed their capitals but have no response. According 
to the German Ambassador, the Tunisian Ambassador in Berlin 
has delivered the same demarche to the German MFA. 

------------------- 
AMBASSADORS' MEETING 
------------------- 

4. (S) On June 22, Ambassador discussed the GOT demarche 
with Ambassador Kerll, Ambassador D'Andria, UK Ambassador 
Chris O'Connor, French Ambassador Serge Degallaix, and 
Canadian Ambassador Bruno Picard. Ambassador Godec reviewed 
the Foreign Minister's demarche with the German and Italian 
Ambassadors then detailing the demarches they had received. 

5. (S/NF) The Canadian Ambassador noted the GOT has offered, 
as evidence that it does not torture, the case of Imam Said 
Jaziri who was repatriated from Canada to Tunisia despite 
allegations that he would be mistreated. The Canadian 
Ambassador said the comparison between Jaziri and the 
Guantanamo detainees is "crap", explaining that Jaziri was a 
petty criminal and not accused of terrorism. The Canadian 
government reviewed Jaziri's case carefully and decided he 
could be transferred since he did have links with terrorism. 
The Canadian decision, Picard suggested, might well have been 
otherwise if Jaziri had been accused of terrorism. 

6. (S/NF) The Italian Ambassador said Italy had had few 
problems with individuals they had transferred to Tunisia. 
The Italians have been in contact with their families and 
lawyers and have not heard any serious complaints. Why, he 
asked, would the GOT want to mistreat or torture transferred 
Guantanamo detainees? 

7. (S/NF) Ambassador Godec noted that there are credible 

reports of one of the first two transferees being mistreated, 
including information from the lawyer, the family and 
statements in open court. Moreover, there are credible 
reports of Ministry of Interior officials mistreating 
detainees and prisoners in other cases. He added that 
contrary to GOT claims, the ICRC cannot visit all Tunisian 
prisons as it does not have access to non-notified MOI 
facilities. The UK Ambassador opined that the GOT uses 
torture as a form of punishment. 

8. (S/NF) The Canadian Ambassador said the GOT's statements 
that it does not torture are "bullshit." The Canadian 
Ambassador (protect) said he had direct, first hand evidence 
of torture/mistreatment of a prisoner that lasted several 
months. The Canadian and German Ambassadors agreed that 
anyone in Tunisian prisons on terrorism charges is at risk of 
mistreatment or torture. 

9. (S/NF) The Ambassadors concluded the discussion with 
several noting that Tunisian diplomatic assurances regarding 
appropriate treatment of prisoners is of value, but that a 
follow-up mechanism is required to ensure commitments are 
kept. 

------- 
COMMENT 
------- 

10. (S/NF) The GOT clearly and strongly wants the Tunisian 
detainees in Guantanamo returned home. As we suggested in 
Ref A, Washington agencies may wish to consider whether to 
offer to return the Tunisian detainees if the GOT agrees to 
permit US access to the first two transferees and ongoing 
access to any future transferees. Such an understanding 
would need to include a mechanism to address the problems 
that may arise. While there is no absolute guarantee against 
mistreatment, such an understanding would provide transferees 
additional protection. Whether the GOT would accept such an 
arrangement is another matter. We are not optimistic, but it 
is worth considering. If Washington decides to continue with 
efforts to transfer the Tunisian detainees to third 
countries, we need to officially inform the GOT at a 
high-level and soon. 
Godec