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Guantanamo Bay

January 29, 2007

Question written on 29/01/2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations she has made to the US Administration asking for the immediate release of British residents who remain detained in Guantanamo Bay.

Answered by Kim Howells

It is long-standing policy that the Government are not in a position to provide consular assistance or diplomatic protection to foreign nationals, including those held at Guantanamo Bay, except where we have a specific agreement with another state to do so.We discuss a range of detainee issues, including Guantanamo Bay, with the US Administration but our focus is on the situation of all detainees at Guantanamo, including those formerly resident in the UK. We have raised humanitarian issues relating to detainees who were formerly resident in the UK with the US on a number of occasions, as part of these regular exchanges.We agreed in March 2006 to make representations to the US Government for the release of Bisher Al-Rawi 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 committed to securing Mr. Al-Rawi’s release from Guantanamo Bay and his return to the UK.