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Guantanamo Bay: Detainees

Volume 488: debated on Monday 2 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what dates the US authorities acceded to his request to return Guantanamo Bay detainee Mr. Binyam Mohamed to the UK; and what form the communication of this decision took. (256380)

Over the last 18 months we have worked long and hard to secure Mr. Binyam Mohamed’s release from Guantanamo Bay and return to the UK. After Military Commission charges against Mr. Mohamed were dropped in October 2008, we held a series of positive discussions with the US on the principle of his return.

President Obama’s Executive Order of 22 January 2009 required a case-by-case assessment of all those detained at Guantanamo Bay. The new US Administration agreed to our request that Mr. Mohamed’s case should be treated as a priority in this process. We concluded a written transfer arrangement for Mr. Mohamed’s release and return on 20 February 2009, leading to his return to the UK on 23 February 2009.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what date Mr. Binyam Mohamed is expected to return to the UK. (256448)

Mr. Binyam Mohamed returned to the UK on 23 February 2009 following his release from Guantanamo Bay.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the policy of the Government is in respect of the cases of (a) Shaker Aamer, (b) Ahmed Belbacha and (c) Farhi Saeed bin Mohammed currently detained at Guantanamo Bay. (259026)

In order to support efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, the UK has sought the release and return of five individuals who had been legally resident in the UK prior to their detention.

As a result of our representations, Mr. Abdennour Sameur, Mr. Jamil el Banna, Mr. Omar Deghayes and Mr. Binyam Mohamed have been returned to the UK. The US have so far declined to agree Mr. Shaker Aamer's return but we have made clear that our request for his release and return stands, should their position change.

We are not seeking the release and return to the UK of Mr. Ahmed Belbacha, who we do not believe was here lawfully, or Mr. Farhi Saeed bin Mohammed, who we have no record of being in the UK.