UK Guantanamo four to be released

Four of the five British residents held by the US at Guantanamo Bay are to be released, the BBC has learned.

UK Guantanamo four to be released

The British Government requested the release of all five men in August after previously refusing to intervene as they were not British citizens.

Jamil el-Banna, Omar Deghayes and Abdenour Samuer will come back to the UK, while Shaker Abdur-Raheem Aamer will return to his native Saudi Arabia.

Campaign group Amnesty International said the news was "extremely welcome".

'Travesty of justice'.

The fifth British resident being held at Guantanamo, Ethiopian Binyam Mohammed al Habashi, will remain at the detention camp.

Amnesty's UK spokesman Neil Durkin said: "We've always said that Guantanamo is a travesty of justice and that detainees should either be given proper trials or released to safe countries.

"We will now be seeking to establish why Shaker Aamer is expected to go to Saudi Arabia, why Binyam Mohammed is apparently not set for return and why another former UK resident - Ahmed Belbacha - has not been mentioned in these reports."

British and US authorities have been in intensive negotiations about the men's return over the past few months despite the Pentagon insisting the men are all dangerous.

The US is seeking reassurances that they will not pose any security threat.

The Americans accuse Mr el-Banna of being a prominent al-Qaeda recruiter and financier, Libyan Mr Deghayes of associating with al-Qaeda, and Algerian Mr Sameur of receiving combat training in Afghanistan.

An official announcement on the releases is expected in the next few weeks.

The Conservatives have been asking the government whether they think the three men returning to the UK pose a threat and if so what security precautions will be taken when they return.

The men have all either been granted refugee status, indefinite leave or exceptional leave to remain in the UK.

Camp closure

Foreign Secretary David Miliband formally wrote to his US counterpart Condoleezza Rice with the request for the men's release.

Last year the Court of Appeal upheld the government's decision not to request the return of non-British nationals because the US said it would not negotiate with third countries.

The Foreign Office also said such a move would be counterproductive to its aim of securing the closure of Guantanamo.

The foreign secretary and the home secretary said they requested the release of the men because of steps taken by the US government towards shutting down the detention facility.

The government said all British nationals had been released from Guantanamo by January 2005.

The detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba was created in early 2002 to hold suspected terrorists captured in Afghanistan.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Aralık 2007, 09:30