Around 30 detainees are ready for release from Guantánamo Bay, US attorney general Eric Holder said on Wednesday, during a tour to scope out Europe’s willingness to accept inmates from the controversial facility.
Although he received no definite promises of assistance, Mr Holder said “frank” discussions in Berlin, London and Prague had left him “rather hopeful” of support.
The justice department will approach allies about taking specific detainees “within weeks as opposed to months”, he added.
US president Barack Obama in January ordered Guantánamo to be closed within a year of his inauguration but although European countries welcomed that decision the idea of accepting prisoners initially received a lukewarm response.
Mr Holder said he “had been lead to believe that at least certain countries were very much against the possibility of accepting detainees.” However, he said he had been “pleasantly surprised not to have received any definite nos” during the trip.
Separately, a Spanish judge on Wednesday began a criminal investigation of alleged torture of prisoners at Guantánamo.