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Homeland Security

Guantanamo man facing extradition to Spain appears in court

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Dec 20, IRNA
UK Residents-Guantanamo
One of three British residents released by the US appeared in court Thursday following his arrest under a Spanish extradition warrant.

British police said Jamil El-Banna, a 45-year-old Palestinian, had not been charged under UK law but was being held on a European Arrest Warrant alleging terrorist-related offences, issued on behalf of the Spanish authorities.

El-Banna was arrested along with 38 year old Libyan, Omar Deghayes, and Abdenour Samuer, a 34 year old Algerian, on their arrival in the UK on Wednesday. All three were UK residents when they were incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay for over four years.

According to the BBC, the Palestinian's lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, has accused the British government of lying about the three men's release, saying that the idea of using evidence proved to be false is very worrying.

"To do this when they are so close to home and their families, I think, is reprehensible. It would have been fine if that was what they [the government] had told us was going to happen," Stafford Smith said.

El-Banna is reported to have first come to the security services radar because he knew Abu Qatada, a radical cleric, described as a "key UK figure" in al-Qaeda related terror activity.

The other two were arrested on board an aircraft shortly after it arrived from Guantanamo. A Metropolitan Police spokesman said they were being held on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

Deghayes was also said to be facing possible extradition to Spain.

Stafford Smith said he had been detained in Guantanamo accused of committing terrorist acts against the United States, after Spanish intelligence services obtained a video.

Two other British residents are still being held by the US in Guantanamo Bay, but while Shaker Abdur-Raheem Aamer, is expected to return to his native Saudi Arabia, Binyam Mohammed, an Ethiopian, is not expected to be released.

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