Pressure is mounting on German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier over a scandal involving a former inmate of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. It is claimed the early release of Murat Kurnaz from the prison was blocked by Berlin and that Steinmeier played a central role.
A German parliamentary committee is investigating allegations that the previous government did not accept a US offer to release Kurnaz in 2002, after it was established he had no links to terrorism. The European Parliament has made the accusation as part of its inquiry into the so-called CIA renditions affair.
In response Steinmeier told an EP committee that the German government of the time took decisions over the Kurnaz case that were motivated by Germany’s security needs, but were legal. He added that it would be wrong to say that the responsibility for Kurnaz’s suffering lay with the German government.
The German-born Turkish national was arrested in Pakistan in 2001. He was eventually released five years later. At the time, Steimeier was chief of staff in the Social Democrat-led administration of former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.