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January 22, 2005

UK urged to treat released US prisoners humanely

Muslim leaders are holding an emergency meeting with Home Office Minister, Hazel Blears, to ensure that the remaining four Britons being repatriated from Guantanamo Bay are treated humanely, The Muslim News has exclusively learnt.

A meeting with Blears, who is responsible for Crime Reduction, Policing and Community Safety, is being held on Monday, the day before Moazzam Begg, Richard Belmar, Martin Mubanga and Feroz Abbasi are expected to return to the UK.

Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, announced on January 11, that the US would be releasing the four remaining Britons held in Guantanamo Bay without trial or charge for the past three years, but suggested that their freedom will be finally decided by British police.

"Once they are back in the UK, the police will consider whether to arrest them under the Terrorism Act 2000 for questioning in connection with possible terrorist activity," Straw said in a Parliamentary statement.

Muslim leaders meeting the Home Office Minister, include Labour MP Khalid Mahmood, Lord Ahmed, Muslim Council of Britain Secretary General, Iqbal Sacranie, Principle of the Muslim College, Zaki Badawi, and Chair of the Muslim Safety Forum, Azad Ali.

They are expected to argue that the four Britons should be treated humanely when they arrive, after suffering immensely, while having their basic rights abused by the US. Human rights lawyer, Louise Christian, who represents Abbasi and Mubanga, said that there was “credible evidence of torture and ill-treatment” while they were caged in Guantanamo Bay.

Particular concern is about their psychological state and the Muslim leaders are demanding that they are immediately released if there is no case against any of the four. The first five Britons to be freed were released shortly after being question by British
police last March.

Blears is also expected to be reminded of the Government’s responsibility for six British residents, who still remain incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay without charge even though they are not UK nationals. She is also expected to come under renewed pressure to act upon last month’s Law Lords ruling that declared the continued detention of foreign nationals held without trial as unlawful.

Posted 11.55 am

For further information contact us on 020 7608 2822 or 077 68 241 325. Please acknowledge The Muslim News when using the press release

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