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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 December, 2003, 16:14 GMT
Guantanamo demonstration at No 10
Moazzam Begg
The father of detainee Moazzam Begg joined the protest
Supporters of the nine Britons held by the US at Guantanamo Bay have protested at Downing Street to demand the release of all the detainees.

The demonstrators, among them the father of Birmingham detainee Moazzam Begg, handed in a petition to No 10.

The nine Britons, suspected of al-Qaeda or Taleban links, have been held at the US base for nearly two years, without trial or lawyers.

Azmat Begg said the UK Government was not doing enough to help its citizens.

Britain and the US have been negotiating over the fate of the prisoners for some time.

Shafiq Rasul, 24, of Tipton, West Midlands
Asif Iqbal, 20, of Tipton
Ruhal Ahmed, 20, of Tipton
Martin Mubanga, 29, from north London
Jamal Udeen, 35, from Manchester
Richard Belmar, 23, from London
Tarek Dergoul, 24, from east London
Moazzam Begg, 35, from Birmingham
Feroz Abbasi, 23, from south London

The Britons' case was raised by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair during last month's state visit to Britain by US President George W Bush.

At the time, Mr Blair said the dispute would be resolved "sometime soon".

A series of recent reports have suggested that the Britons could be sent back to the UK by the New Year.

One report said those who had pleaded guilty to charges in America would serve their sentences in British prisons.

Some could be held under terrorism laws, and others could be freed with no charges.

But the men's families say they have heard nothing of any deal, and remain angry at the government.

The relatives want the men to be sent back immediately to Britain, to be either charged or released.

Rumsfeld call

But BBC correspondent Shaun Ley, at Downing Street, said although UK ministers were angry and embarrassed over the affair, they faced some difficulties in demanding the immediate return of the men.

The American authorities are not satisfied the [UK] judicial process is strong enough, despite the series of anti-terrorist legislation that has been passed over the last couple of years
The BBC's Shaun Ley
"There are those privately worried in government... that if these men were repatriated to Britain and there are still suspicions about some of them, would the law in this country be strong enough to allow them to be detained here?

"The American authorities are not satisfied the judicial process is strong enough, despite the series of anti-terrorist legislation that has been passed over the last couple of years... and that's been one of the reasons they've been reluctant to repatriate them here."

On Friday, three US senators who visited the Camp Delta base urged US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to come to a decision about all the 600 or so prisoners.

In an open letter, they urged him "either to formally treat and process the detainees as war criminals, or to return them to their countries for appropriate judicial action."

The BBC's Shaun Ley
"The American authorities are not satisfied that British judicial process is strong enough"

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