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Guantánamo Bay: Release of British citizens welcome but long, long overdue

Kate Allen, UK Director of Amnesty International said:

“Having campaigned long and hard over Guantánamo, we are delighted that the misery of these four men and the anguish of their families at last appears to be coming to an end. In the absence of proper charges and trials, the release of Britons held at Guantánamo Bay is long, long overdue.

“If anyone previously held at Guantanamo has anything to answer for in the UK, then they should of course be properly charged and duly tried in court."

Amnesty International remains concerned about the plight of the remaining detainees at Guantánamo Bay. Yesterday marked the third anniversary of the first detentions by the US authorities at Guantánamo, which Amnesty International has described as an “icon of lawlessness”.

Kate Allen added:

“While we welcome the release of these four British citizens, two British residents, Bisha Al-Rawi and Jamil al-Banna, who were arrested in Gambia and then transferred to Guantánamo, are still held there and we call upon the UK Government to fight for their release.

“In addition, more than 500 other detainees from around 40 countries remain in legal limbo. People’s human rights should not hang on whether or not they are from a country friendly to the USA.”

Amnesty International also continues to urge governments around the world to urgently make representations on behalf of all those held at Guantánamo Bay. The organisation calls for all detainees to be afforded their full rights and either be released or charged with a recognisably criminal offence and tried in court proceedings that fully meet international fair trial standards.

There have been repeated allegations of abuse of detainees at Guantánamo, most recently made by the FBI.

Kate Allen added: “There will now be an opportunity to speak to the UK citizens whose release was announced today and to ensure that all allegations of torture and ill-treatment at Guantánamo are fully investigated."

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