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Guantánamo Bay: Return of Britons should mark end to all illegal detentions

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

"The arrival of these men back in Britain after three years of detention should mark the end of all illegal detentions at Guantánamo Bay.

"In the past three years Guantánamo Bay has become an icon of lawlessness and with over 500 prisoners still languishing in legal limbo without charge or trial, this is far from the end of the story.

"The UK government should now take a principled stand to push for the end of Guantánamo Bay’s illegal and abusive regime."

The four Britons - Feroz Abbasi, Moazzam Begg, Martin Mubanga and Richard Belmar - are expected to arrive on British soil sometime today, more than three years since the first transport of detainees to Guantánamo Bay in 2002.

During this time there have been numerous reports of ill-treatment and torture at the US naval camp, including from former detainees after their release.

Kate Allen added:

"By all accounts these men have endured a great deal and it is very important that they are now treated humanely.

"Whether or not the UK authorities deem it necessary to hold any of these men on arrival in Britain, they should certainly release them as soon as practicable, not least in light of the fact that they have been detained for several years and intensively questioned during part of that time.

"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 meanwhile remains concerned at the plight of the remaining detainees at Guantánamo Bay, including a number of detainees who are longstanding residents of the UK.

The organisation also continues to urge governments around the world to make urgent representations on behalf of all those held at Guantánamo Bay.

Amnesty International 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 for the UK authorities to speak to these UK citizens to ensure that all allegations of torture and ill-treatment at Guantánamo are fully investigated."

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