Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Guantanamo: freedom for the "Guantanamo five"?

Since 2002, Jamil El-Banna, Shaker Aamer, Omar Deghayes, Binyam Mohamed and Abdennour Sameur - all of them from the UK - have been held in the American gulag in Guantanamo Bay. And since 2002, the British government has refused to help them. Nine other British prisoners have been released and returned to the UK, but the "Guantanamo five" (as they are called) remain, with the UK government disclaiming any responsibility towards them on the grounds that they only residents, rather than citizens. But now that Tony Blair has left office, everything has changed, and the UK government is now negotiating with the Americans for their release.

This is very welcome news. Whatever these people are accused of doing (which in some cases, seems to be "being a Muslim in Afghanistan"), they do not deserve to be imprisoned indefinitely without trial. Instead, they should be given a fair trial before a proper court. And if there is insufficient admissible evidence to suport that - as seems to be the case with all these men - then they should be released.