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Homeland Security

SLUG: 2-313969 Britain / Guantanamo (L)









INTRO: After more than two years in detention in Guantanamo Bay, five Britons were flown back home Tuesday on a military transport. One is being questioned at an air base, while four others have been arrested under Britain's anti-terrorism laws and moved to a jail. Tom Rivers reports from London.

TEXT: Five of the nine Britons that have been held at Camp Delta, the U-S detention center at Guantanamo Bay, are now back on British soil.

They arrived at the Royal Air Force Northolt base just west of London. There, one was questioned while the remaining four were driven to a nearby high-security police station in the capital. Assistant police chief Peter Clarke says the men are now being afforded all of their legal rights under British law.

/// CLARKE ACT ///

Everything that happens to these men from the moment they arrived in U-K soil will be entirely in accordance with the United Kingdom law and the normal procedures in these cases will be followed to the letter. This means that in the first instance, they have been taken to Paddington Green police station where they will have access to legal advice and will be able to make a telephone call. In addition to that, they will be medically examined. And this medical examination is to make sure of two things. Firstly, that they are medically fit to be detained and secondly, that they are fit to be interviewed.

/// END ACT ///

Arrested under Britain's Anti-Terrorism act, the men can be held and questioned for up to 14 days after which they must be charged or released.

Paul Quigley, a spokesman for the family of one of the men, Ruhal Ahmed, says the relatives want him to be released and reunited with his loved ones.


Ruhal is now home in Britain. The family believes that if there were any evidence that Ruhal had done anything wrong, the American would have already used it against him.

/// END ACT ///

The released men, according to U-S officials, are all said to be low risk, but four other higher risk Britons remain in Camp Delta.

Sarah de Mas from the human rights group Fair Trials Abroad says her focus now turns to them.

/// DE MAS ACT ///

We are concerned about the evidence of their allegations now that they are a very serious security risk and we wonder how the evidence was brought against them. They have had no legal assistance or advice as far as we can ascertain. And it now appears that they will now be brought forward to a military tribunal. And what safeguards will they have under such a tribunal?

/// END ACT ///

British Home Secretary David Blunkett says the remaining four detainees would probably face trial in the United States, but he has called for them to be granted proper legal representation. (signed)


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