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Maldives president says accepting 2 Guantanamo detainees would be goodwill measure

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Accepting two Muslim detainees from the Guantanamo Bay detention center will bring goodwill and honor to the Maldives, the country's president said.

Talks are ongoing for the Muslim island nation to accept two unidentified prisoners.

President Mohamed Nasheed in his radio address Friday defended his decision after the main opposition party criticized the government as trying to bring inmates from a place where some of world's "most dangerous terrorists" are kept.

However, Nasheed said that it is against Islam and the country's constitution not to help people who he claims were those wrongly imprisoned. It would "show that we are a people who care about others" and would bring "good will, honor and prestige" to the country, according to his website.

Independent Minivan News Web site reported Sunday that the opposition former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's Dhivehi Raithunge Party has objected to the plan.

"While we don't even have a proper jail and the society is drowning in gang violence and crime, the Maldivian government has reached the point where they are forming agreements with another country ... to bring in people from the jail that has the world's most dangerous terrorists," the Web site quoted lawmaker Ali Waheed of DRP as saying in a motion to the parliamentary national security committee.

Nasheed said the opposition was playing politics and he promised provide any information the opposition required.

The U.S. has released more than 590 prisoners since opening the prison in early 2002 after the 9/11 attack, some to be repatriated and others resettled in new countries. The prison on Cuba that the Obama administration is trying to close now has about 181 detainees.

Further information isn't known on the detainees the Maldives is willing to accept.

Maldives is an Indian Ocean nation of about 300,000 people, on 1,200 islets.

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Online:

President's Web site: http://www.presidencymaldives.gov.mv

Minivan News: http://www.minivannews.com