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Muslims in British terrorist prison say staff 'don't understand' them

[JURIST] Britain's chief inspector of prisons has expressed concern after Muslim inmates in London's maximum-security Belmarsh Prison [official website] - dubbed "the UK's Guantanamo Bay" [BBC report] by the British press - told authorities that the staff did not understand their social and religious behavior. Chief Inspector Anne Owers said in a report [PDF] based an unannounced October visit and survey that the addition of four terrorist suspects - all alleged to have ties to the July 7 London bomb attacks [JURIST news archive] which killed 52 people - has put the institution at "full stretch". According to Owers, half of all prisoners surveyed said that they had felt unsafe at Belmarsh. Muslim prisoners in Belmarsh also reported that they enjoyed a poor quality of life and that they had few relationships with staff or other inmates.

The maximum-security jail holds 900 prisoners. According to Owers' report, over 100 of those are Muslim, about half are foreign nationals and half are black or minority. Nine foreigners suspected of terrorism were held at Belmarsh for three years without charge or trial. Reuters has more.

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