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Guantanamo Bay

Volume 710: debated on Monday 18 May 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Malloch-Brown on 20 April (WA 343) and on 30 March (WA 188), what has been the total cost of transport by air and car, including accompanying officials, involved in returning each of the 14 Guantanamo Bay detainees released to the United Kingdom; what are the budgeted ongoing costs for each detainee in the United Kingdom; and which of those released are categorised as United Kingdom nationals and which as previously legally resident in the United Kingdom. [HL3056]

We requested the release and return of UK nationals from Guantanamo Bay in 2003. We also requested the release and return of former legal residents in 2007, in order to see the detention facility closed as quickly as possible by helping reduce the number of detainees. All the return operations involved officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and from our embassy in Washington, accompanied by officers of the Metropolitan Police Service to ensure the security of the flight and to comply with police procedures during the return. In all cases military or private charters were necessary both to ensure security and because no other flights were available from Guantanamo Bay to the UK.

A total of 14 individuals have been returned from Guantanamo Bay to the UK, nine nationals and five former legal residents, in five separate operations between January 2005 and February 2009. The total transport costs involved, including accompanying officials, was approximately £617,000.

Of the UK nationals, Tarek Dergoul, Jameal Udeen, Shafiq Rasul, Rhuhel Ahmed and Asif Iqbal, were returned to the UK on 10 March 2004. Feroz Abbasi, Moazzam Begg, Martin Mubanga and Richard Belmar were returned on 25 January 2005.

Of the individuals previously legally resident in the UK, Bisher Al Rawi, was returned to the UK on 1 April 2007; Abedennour Sameur, Jamil el Banna and Omar Deghayes were returned on 19 December 2007; and Binyam Mohamed was returned on 23 February 2009.

With respect to the budgeted ongoing cost on return to the UK, the entitlement to support for an individual in the UK is assessed on their particular circumstances, including a range of factors such as personal and family circumstances, employment and immigration status. As a matter of policy we do not comment on individual cases.