[JURIST] The US Department of Defense has cleared for release one of the Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees who was a legal resident in the UK before his detention, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs Sandy Hodgkinson said Thursday. The US has not transferred the detainee, who was not identified, to his country of origin due to concerns that he could be subject to mistreatment. The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office [official website] said earlier this week that it has asked the United States to release five detainees [press release; JURIST report] who held UK residency before being detained at Guantanamo. The five detainees - Saudi Arabian Shaker Aamer, Jordanian Jamil el Banna, Libyan Omar Deghayes, Ethiopian Binyam Mohamed and Algerian Abdennour Sameur - had been granted either refugee status, indefinite leave or exceptional leave to remain in the UK. Hodgkinson indicated that US authorities will provide the British government detailed documents on the five detainee, but said that their release from Guantanamo would not be conditioned on a British promise to detain the men.
British officials under the government of former Prime Minister Tony Blair had refused to seek the release of British resident aliens held at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive], and el Banna and Deghayes were among a group of detainees who lost a court bid [JURIST report] to force the UK government to lobby the US for their release. Reuters has more.