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Tuesday, 26 February, 2002, 18:00 GMT
Mother's challenge over Cuba prisoner
Camp X-ray, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
Camp X-ray has prisoners from 11 countries
The mother of one of five Britons being held in Camp X-Ray in Cuba is taking legal action against the UK Government.

Solicitor Louise Christian is representing Zumrati Juma, whose son Feroz Abbasi is being held in the Guantanamo Bay camp.

At a press conference on Monday, Ms Christian threatened legal action against the government under the Human Rights Act for being complicit with the US in its detention of the men.

Feroz Abbasi wrote to his mother
Feroz Abbasi has written to his mother
She set a deadline of Tuesday afternoon for a satisfactory government response.

But she said the letter she received from a Treasury solicitor on behalf of the government was "not good enough" and she would now lodge an application for judicial review at the high court.

The letter said the government had hoped to be able to meet her deadline, but that a "substantive reply" would not be possible until "the end of the week at the earliest".

The letter went on to say the solicitor hoped Ms Christian would defer taking legal action until she heard from him again.

'Absolute disgrace'

Ms Christian said she hoped to lodge the judicial review application in the next few days.

She criticised the conditions the prisoners are being held in and called them an "absolute disgrace".

Her concerns include the prisoners' lack of access to solicitors.

Legal organisations the Law Society and the Bar Council have voiced similar concerns.

The president of the Law Society, David McIntosh, said he would be writing to Prime Minister Tony Blair urging him to take action in the US so that permission for access to lawyers is given immediately.


The two organisations said international law experts had concluded the prisoners, labelled "unlawful combatants", are entitled to these rights.

They also accused the US of breaching its international obligations by treating foreign-born suspects differently from the Americans.

Speaking on Monday, Ms Juma said her son, who is 22 and from Croydon, south London, is innocent and called for an end to his "unlawful imprisonment".

She also called on the UK Government to persuade the US Government to hand him over to British authorities.

Four other Britons are being held at the camp. They are: Asif Iqbal, 20, Shafiq Rasul, 24, Ruhal Ahmed, 20, all from Tipton, West Midlands, and web designer Jamal Udeen, 35, from Manchester.

See also:

24 Feb 02 | Americas
Camp X-Ray inmates 'may go home'
12 Feb 02 | Americas
UN speaks out on Afghan detainees
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