The News, June 11th, 2003


LONDON: Britain said on Tuesday it had called on the United States to
resolve the "anomalous situation" faced by al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects held at Guantanamo bay in Cuba.

"We have made it very clear that we do expect international standards to be
applied in the way in which individuals are detained, particularly where
they are British nationals," junior Foreign Office Minister Mike O'Brien
said in parliament. "We have also made it clear that this matter has dragged
on for a very long time and it's time that the US does seek to find ways of
bringing these matters to a conclusion and resolving the anomalous situation
faced by the Guantanamo detainees," O'Brien added.

Deprived of prisoner of war status, more than 650 detainees remain in the
open-air, maximum security prison on the US base, as part of America's
alleged "war on terror".

Captured for the most part during the US-led military operations in
Afghanistan in late 2001, none of them have been officially indicted and
have been prevented from meeting with attorneys or even receiving visitors.

Most of them have spent the majority of their detention in complete
isolation, punctuated only by routine interrogations.

About 30 Afghan prisoners from Guantanamo have been declared innocent and
returned to their war-ravaged homeland. Nine British nationals are being
held, classified by the United States as "unlawful combatants".

O'Brien said it was a "very difficult issue" as intelligence information was
still being received from the "generality of these detainees."

"That information is productive and useful. However it is also the case that
we have made it very clear that we hope that the US will be able to resolve
these matters as soon as possible," O'Brien said.


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