POLITICS

Slovakia To Take Three Uighur Guantanamo Detainees

In this photo reviewed by the U.S. military, a soldier stands at the now closed Camp X-Ray, which was used as the first deten
In this photo reviewed by the U.S. military, a soldier stands at the now closed Camp X-Ray, which was used as the first detention facility for al-Qaida and Taliban militants who were captured after the Sept. 11 attacks at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. Detainees were housed in open air pens until the completion of Camp Delta in April 2002. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

PRAGUE, Dec 31 (Reuters) - Slovakia will take in three detainees from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, the central European country's interior ministry said on Friday.

The European Union and NATO member first accepted three Guantanamo prisoners in 2010 and the ministry said the latest transfer is a continuation of an EU-U.S. agreement aimed at helping President Barack Obama close the controversial prison.

"As in the first case, this is about transporting people who have never been suspected of nor charged with a criminal act of terrorism," the ministry said in an emailed statement.

A spokesman said the three were Uighurs, Muslim inhabitants of the Xinjiang region in northwestern China.

Last week, Obama gave credit to Congress for relaxing restrictions on transferring detainees from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay to the custody of foreign governments but said lawmakers needed to go further.

Congress has retained regulations that prevent the transfer of prisoners to American soil, where they could be tried in federal court.

The regulations could remain an obstacle to the administration's years-long bid to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, where 158 detainees from various countries remain after years of detention without trial. (Reporting by Jason Hovet Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.)

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Inside Guantanamo Bay