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UK in talks with US on release of British residents from Guantanamo Bay

[JURIST] The UK Foreign Office [official website] has begun talks with the US on the potential release of eight UK residents detained at the US detention center in Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] into the custody of British authorities. The UK government has successfully negotiated the release of British citizens detained at Guantanamo, but has previously declined to lobby for the release of residents who are not citizens. The UK Foreign Office took over the case [JURIST report] of Australian-born terror suspect David Hicks [JURIST news archive] in mid-June, after British courts ordered the UK to grant Hicks citizenship [JURIST report] because Hicks' mother is a UK citizen. Though the UK has not yet granted him citizenship, Hicks has expressed hope that the UK Foreign Office will negotiate his release from Guantanamo Bay, as it has successfully done in the past with other British detainees.

Talks between the UK and US began days after UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak [official website] suggested that European countries accept detainees [JURIST report] into their own judicial and penitentiary systems to help facilitate the closure of Guantanamo Bay. During the EU-US Summit in Vienna last week, President Bush suggested that US courts could begin trying Guantanamo Bay detainees [JURIST report] as soon as the Supreme Court rules on the legality of military tribunals for detainees in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld [Duke case backgrounder; JURIST report]; a decision in the case is expected this week. The Times has more.

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