Skip to main content

Guantanamo Bay

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's policy is on trials of (a) British citizens and (b) foreign nationals with an indefinite right of abode in the UK who are detained in Guantanamo Bay being held under the jurisdiction of (i) courts in the USA, (ii) courts in the UK and (iii) courts with an international jurisdiction. [126463]

[holding answer 17 July 2003]: The Government's view is that if any of the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay are to be tried, the trial must be fair and accord with international law, wherever it may be conducted.The Government are not in a position to provide diplomatic assistance to non-British nationals wherever they may be detained abroad.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which other Government Departments he consulted about the establishment of military tribunals in Guantanamo Bay; and when. [126865]

The Military Commissions concerned were established by the US President's Military Order of 13 November 2001, Detention, Treatment and Trial of Certain Non-US Citizens in the War Against Terrorism.The Government was not consulted on the Order.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received from consular authorities about the plans of the US authorities to charge UK prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay; and what the maximum penalties will be that such prisoners face. [123440]

We are in regular contact with the United States authorities about the British detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, although our discussions are not with the consular authorities. Two of the British detainees have been designated as eligible for trial by Military Commissions, but have not yet been charged. The US announced on 18 July that they would not commence any Military Commission proceedings against British nationals pending discussions between US and UK legal experts. During his visit to the US on 21–22 July, the Attorney-General received assurances from the US Administration that the prosecution would not seek the death penalty in either of these two cases.We have been informed that the United States authorities have not yet made a decision to charge or release any of the other British nationals detained at Guantanamo Bay. We are pressing the United States authorities to move forward with the process of determining the detainees' future and shall continue to do so.