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Four UK residents detained at Guantanamo to be released

[JURIST] Four of the five UK residents being detained at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] are scheduled to be released, the BBC reported Friday. Jordanian Jamil el Banna, Libyan Omar Deghayes and Algerian Abdennour Sameur will return to the UK, while Saudi Arabian Shaker Abdur-Raheem Aamer will return to his native country. A fifth detainee, Ethiopian Binyam Mohammed al Habashi, will stay in US custody. The US government has asked for assurances that the men will not pose any terrorist threat after release, but has not conditioned their release on any promise by UK authorities to detain the men. An official announcement is expected in the coming weeks.

In August, the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office [official website] asked the United States to release the five [press release; JURIST report] who were legal residents in the UK prior to their detention at Guantanamo. The Foreign Office said that they had previously been granted either refugee status, indefinite leave or exceptional leave to remain in the UK. The UK government also "welcomed recent steps taken by the US Government to reduce the numbers of those detained at Guantanamo Bay and to move towards the closure of the detention facility." British officials under the government of former Prime Minister Tony Blair had refused to seek the release of the British resident aliens held at Guantanamo Bay, 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. The UK government has said that all UK nationals detained at Guantanamo were returned to the UK by January 2005. BBC News has more.

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