CNN State Department Producer
Oh to be a Guantanamo detainee. At least a few lucky ones who could be headed to Italy. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, in Washington for meetings with the Obama Administration told reporters that as part of a European Union decision to help President Obama make good on his pledge to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, his country may be willing to take a few of the detainees not being charged in US courts.
Their sentence? If the individuals remanded to Italian custody are deemed safe enough to be released from prison, they must live the rest of their lives within the borders of the grand old boot.
Rather than receive the typical Schengen visa, which allows them to travel to any (or all) EU countries, the Guantanamo detainees who land in Italy would only receive a special "permit" which doesn't allow them to leave the country. This prevents other EU countries who chose not to take detainees from being forced to accept them.
"They can go from Rome to Florence to Venice, anywhere in Italy, Frantini said. "Its not so bad, it's better than Guantanamo."
No kidding. As someone whose summer vacations in Italy always seem way too short, I asked Frantini if I, too, could apply for the special permit sentencing me to a lifetime of La Dolce Vita. He laughed but made no promises.
Filed under: Elise Labott • Guantanomo Bay
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To stay in Italy would hardly be a punishment in my book and it should certainly be a lot better than Guantanomo. I wonder how the Italian people feel about it though – hope they prove these people are innocent and the Italians believe that. If it were me I would be somewhat dubious about wanting them in my country at all.