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UK foreign minister urges closure of Guantanamo detention camp

[JURIST] [JURIST Europe] UK Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells [official profile] has warned that operations at the US detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba [JURIST news archive] threaten democracy and has urged the closing of the facility in order to restore faith in the "shared values" of Britain and the US. The outspoken minister, charged with overseeing British policy in the Middle East in the name of UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, was speaking Tuesday in the House of Commons [official website].

British Prime Minister Tony Blair [official profile], although having said the camp is "an anomaly that had to be dealt with" [JURIST report] and having expressed hope [JURIST report] that it will eventually be closed, has thusfar refrained from specifically calling for its immediate shutdown. Howells' comments come on the heels of a visit to London by US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile] aimed at garnering more British support for Guantanamo Bay and US policy in the "war on terror." Gonzales Tuesday questioned the necessity of certain Geneva Convention provisions [JURIST report] and has continued to say the detention camp is necessary and lawful. The Independent has local coverage.

Angela Onikepe is an Associate Editor for JURIST Europe, reporting European legal news from a European perspective. She is based in the UK.

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