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Afghanistan: Detainees

Volume 458: debated on Monday 26 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations her Department has made to the US to ensure the safe return of former residents of (a) the UK and (b) UK overseas territories being held at the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay. (130216)

The Government are not in a position to provide consular or diplomatic protection to non-British nationals, including those detainees in Guantanamo Bay, who were formerly resident in the UK or UK overseas territories.

However, we agreed in March 2006 to make representations to the US government for the release of Mr. Bisher al-Rawi, an Iraqi national formerly resident in the UK, from Guantanamo Bay and his return to the UK. That decision was based on the particular circumstances in his case. On 6 April 2006, my right hon. Friend the then Foreign Secretary (Mr. Straw) wrote to the US Secretary of State to ask formally for Mr. al-Rawi’s release and return. Detailed discussions between our Governments have continued ever since. While these are sensitive and complicated issues that take time, we are fully committed to securing Mr. al-Rawi’s release from Guantanamo Bay and his return to the UK.

The Government continue to raise humanitarian concerns about detentions at Guantanamo Bay with the US authorities, including issues relating to detainees who were formerly resident in the UK.