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Homeland Security

UK MPs call for inquiry into US abuse of Guantanamo detainees

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Jan 8, IRNA
UK Residents-Guantanamo Detainees

The British government was urged Monday to support demands for an investigation into allegations of US abuse against Muslim detainees held at its naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

A parliamentary early-day motion also called on UK authorities to provide consular assistance to nine British residents still held at the concentration camp.

Their detention is "in breach of every fundamental legal principle and directly at odds with the very values the war on terror purports to defend," said the motion raised by two Liberal Democrat MPs, Ed Davey and Sarah Teather.

The calls come as Davey secured a parliamentary debate on the plight of the British residents, who are being held by the US among some 400 other nationalities at the base as the camp nears its fifth anniversary.

"These men have been held for over four years without trial. It's ironic that during their detention the House of Commons threw out Tony Blair's own attempt to introduce 90-day detention without trial," the Lib Dem MP said.

All British citizens were released from Guantanamo by September 2004, but the government insists it has no power to intervene on behalf of foreign nationals, even if they were long-term residents of the UK.

On Sunday, lawyers for one of the nine, Bisher al-Rawi, warned that the 36-year old Iraqi national was on the brink of losing his sanity after more than four years detention without trial.

"I have had several clients on American death rows who have developed it and it's clear to me that he is sliding down that path," said one of the lawyers, Clive Stafford-Smith.

"The conditions in which he is being held are worse than any death row I've ever seen," Stafford-Smith told the Observer newspaper.

This week will see a series of demonstrations around the UK to mark the fifth anniversary of the arrival of the first detainees at Guantanamo on January 11 2002.

Amnesty International, the human rights pressure group, is staging a candle-lit vigil outside Prime Minister Tony Blair's Street on Wednesday evening.

There are also rallies on Thursday outside the US Embassy in London and near the American consulate in Edinburgh as well as at the Hiatts factory in Birmingham, central England, which supplies shackles used on the detainees.

Amnesty said it was calling for the immediate closure of the Guantanamo camp and for all other so-called war-on-terror detention centres also to be identified and closed.

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