Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Amnesty International Asserts UK Authorities Must Accept Return of Residents Held at Guantanamo Bay

10/3/2006 11:36:00 AM


To: National and International desks

Contact: Sharon Singh of Amnesty International USA, 202-544-0200 ext. 289

LONDON, Oct. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In response to the reports featured in The Guardian newspaper today that the United States has offered to return nearly all United Kingdom (UK) residents held at Guantanamo Bay, Amnesty International calls on the UK government to fulfill its obligations under domestic and international law and ensure the immediate return of all the men to the UK. So far, the UK authorities have agreed to petition their U.S. counterparts to seek the release and return to the UK only of Bisher Al-Rawi.

"The UK government has obligations towards these men as some of them have been residents in the UK for a long time and have family members who are UK nationals. Others have refugee status in the UK," said Nicola Duckworth, Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia program director.

"In addition, UK authorities must ensure that a full independent and impartial investigation is held into the UK's involvement in the cases of Bisher Al-Rawi, a UK resident, and Jamil El-Banna, who has refugee status in the UK."

It has been alleged that the United Kingdom was involved in the arrest of both men in the Gambia and their eventual rendition to U.S. custody. The investigation must establish whether UK security services were complicit in their detention and subsequent human rights violations.

"The UK authorities must also ensure that on return to the United Kingdom all UK residents are afforded at least the same status as they enjoyed before their unlawful detention at Guantanamo Bay, and are not subsequently sent anywhere where they would be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment," said Duckworth.

"If any of the UK residents currently held at Guantanamo Bay are reasonably suspected to have committed a recognizably criminal offense, they should be charged immediately and tried in fair proceedings."

http://www.usnewswire.com/

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/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

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