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Thursday, 2 May, 2002, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK
Prisons expert's Middle East role
Shotts Prison
Shotts Prison, where Dr Coyle was governor
A former governor of top-security jails in the UK is playing a central role in the deal to end the stalemate in the Middle East.

Dr Andrew Coyle, director of the International Centre for Prison Studies at King's College, London, is in charge of a team of British supervisory wardens at a Palestinian Authority prison in Jericho.

The team is supervising the detention of six Palestinian suspects, five of whom are alleged to have been involved in the assassination of Israel's tourism minister last October.

Dr Coyle has run Brixton Prison in London, where IRA members have been held, and Peterhead Prison, once home to Scotland's most violent criminals.

Dr Andrew Coyle
Dr Andrew Coyle: Highly regarded expert

The UK and American warden teams moved in as part of the agreement which led to the end of the Israeli army's 34-day seige of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah on Thursday.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "Dr Coyle has a lot of experience in the area of monitoring detention and has a distinguished academic record."

The British Ambassador to Israel, Sherard Cowper-Coles, said the British guards would be on duty 24 hours a day.

They are all civilians and do not carry weapons, but they served in the British army and have been observers in the Balkans. None wants to be named.

Expert adviser

Dr Coyle will be in a strictly supervisory role and will not be in contact with the detainees, the Foreign Office said.

He has also been governor of Greenock and Shotts prisons. The latter houses Scotland's maximum-security convicts.

He graduated from Edinburgh University's law school in 1986 and is regarded as an expert adviser on prison management and reform for the United Nations, Council of Europe and other agencies.

See also:

02 May 02 | Middle East
Ramallah deal 'vague'
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