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Thursday, March 29, 2007

UK resident to be released from Guantanamo
Robert DeVries at 6:46 PM ET

[JURIST] British resident and Iraqi citizen Bisher al-Rawi [Wikipedia profile] is scheduled for release from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive], according to a statement by UK Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett [official profile] in Parliament Thursday. Held as an enemy combatant at Guantanamo since its opening nearly five years ago, al-Rawi will be returned to the UK as soon as security and transportation is finalized.

Al-Rawi and Jamil al-Banna [Wikipedia profile], also a UK resident, were originally suspected of ties to al-Qaida because of their alleged connection with radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada [BBC profile]. The men were arrested returning to the UK from Gambia with a suspicious electronic device, which they claimed was a battery charger. They were taken into US custody, flown to Cairo on a rendition flight [JURIST news archive], and held incommunicado for 2 months in Afghanistan before they eventually ended up at Guantanamo. The British government agreed to help secure al Rawi's release [JURIST report] last year but al-Rawi was nonetheless involved in a lawsuit brought by a group of detainees who held British residency before being detained seeking to force the UK government to lobby for their release. That attempt was unsuccessful in the British courts [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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