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Lawyers argue for release of British residents held at Guantanamo

[JURIST] The UK Court of Appeal [official website] heard arguments Monday in a case where the families of three Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees who were UK residents prior to their detention are seeking an order requiring the British government to lobby the US for the release of their relatives. The High Court ruled [JURIST report] in May that the three detainees - Jordanian Jamil el-Banna, Libyan Omar Deghayes and Iraqi Bisher al-Rawi - could not demand that the UK Foreign Office [official website] act on their behalf because the three detainees are not British citizens. A lawyer for the three families told the appeals court Monday that Britain should lobby for their release because the three detainees are long-term British residents and that the High Court decision conflicts with actions taken by the Foreign Office in March 2004 and January 2005 to secure the release of other British nationals.

Al-Rawi and el-Banna were arrested in 2002 in Gambia during a business trip because of alleged links to terrorism. Deghayes was arrested in 2002 in Pakistan on suspicion of committing terrorist acts against the United States. In March, the Foreign Office announced plans to lobby on behalf of al-Rawi [JURIST report]. Al-Rawi and el-Banna insist that British authorities assisted the US [JURIST report] in their alleged extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive] from Gambia to Guantanamo. AFP has more. BBC News has local coverage.

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