USA (Guantánamo Bay): Government decision to intervene for UK residents welcomed

‘Travesty of justice’ condemned and UK urged to speak out

Responding to today’s news that the UK government will make representations for the return to Britain of five UK residents imprisoned at the US detention centre at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, Amnesty International has this morning welcomed the decision and called for early action to achieve the men’s freedom.

The Foreign Office and the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith have announced that they will request the return to the UK of Jamil el-Banna, Omar Deghayes, Shaker Abdur Raheem Aamer, Binyam Mohammed and Abdennour Sameur.

Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Tim Hancock said:

“This is hugely welcome news for the men and their families after all these years of suffering and uncertainty - and the government should now move quickly.

“We’ve been saying for several years that the UK should have been seeking the fair trial or safe release of the UK residents imprisoned at Guantánamo.

“Guantánamo is a travesty of justice and it’s important that the government starts speaking out about hundreds of men still held there - they must not become Guantánamo’s forgotten prisoners.

“Meanwhile, the UK government should unequivocally condemn the practice of ‘rendition’ and secret detention - both of which have ‘fed’ the system at Guantánamo in the past five years.”

Amnesty International has been campaigning for the fair trial or safe release of all 370 prisoners at Guantánamo, including the five UK residents named today as well as a further UK resident - Ahmed Belbacha - about whom little is known, The organisation will be now making representations with the UK government over this man’s fate.

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