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Guantanamo detainees lose bid to force UK government to help with release

[JURIST] The UK Court of Appeal [official website] Thursday upheld an earlier High Court ruling [text] and denied a bid [JURIST report] by the families of three Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees who were UK residents prior to their detention to require the British government to lobby the US for their release. The High Court ruled [JURIST report] in May that the three detainees – Jordanian national Jamil el-Banna, Libyan national Omar Deghayes and Iraqi national 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. The detainees' relatives appealed, arguing discrimination, breach of human rights, legal errors and irrationality. The Court of Appeal’s decision has already been met with disappointment [press release] by Amnesty International [advocacy website], which said Thursday that “the Court of Appeal has missed an opportunity to send a clear message to the UK government that it must fulfill its responsibilities towards all Guantánamo detainees, regardless of whether they are UK citizens or residents.”

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. 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. So far, the UK has agreed to allow al-Rawi [JURIST report; Wikipedia profile] to return, but has balked at a US bid to tranfer nine other British residents [JURIST report], saying that US requirements for continued surveillance of the prisoners after their release is unnecessary and unworkable [JURIST report]. Reuters has more. BBC News has local coverage.

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