Page last updated at 20:19 GMT, Sunday, 15 February 2009

Guantanamo inmate 'fit to travel'

Binyam Mohamed
Mr Mohamed had been resident in the UK from the age of 15

A UK resident held at the US's Guantanamo Bay detention camp is fit enough to travel to the UK, the Foreign Office has said.

British officials, including a doctor, visited Binyam Mohamed in Cuba. The UK had expressed concerns over his health after reports he was on hunger strike.

His legal team hope he will be cleared for release by President Barack Obama and return to Britain within days.

Mr Mohamed has been held since 2002, but US charges were dropped last year.

'No medical concerns'

Mr Mohamed, who lived in west London, was arrested in Pakistan in 2002. The 30-year-old says he was tortured before arriving in Cuba, but the US denies the claims.

Hopefully we can bring him back to some good old-fashioned English food
Mr Mohamed's lawyer Clive Stafford Smith
A Foreign Office spokesman said: "A team of British officials, including a doctor, met with Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed yesterday. They also met with medical staff at the facility.

"There are no immediate medical concerns that would prevent him from travelling to the UK, should the United States government agree to the UK's request for release and return. We hope this brings Mr Mohamed's release and return to the UK one step closer."

Mr Mohamed's lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, said his client ended his hunger strike on Wednesday.

He said the 6ft 1in (1.9m) detainee's weight had dropped to 125lb (8st 9lb; 57kg) since he stopped eating on 5 January and they were worried he would not be deemed fit to travel.

"That means he has the same body mass index as people who are very close to starvation," he said.

"My understanding is that now he's having one meal of solid food a day and some nutritional supplements.

"Hopefully we can bring him back to some good old-fashioned English food."

Obama review

Ethiopian national Mr Mohamed is the last recognised British resident held at Guantanamo Bay.

He says he was secretly flown to Morocco and tortured before being moved to Afghanistan and finally, in 2004, to the US naval base in Cuba, where he remains, although charges against him were dropped last year.

David Miliband
The foreign secretary was caught up in a row over Mr Mohamed's detention

After becoming president, Mr Obama issued an executive order establishing a review of all inmates held at Guantanamo.

Lawyers acting for Mr Mohamed have campaigned for alleged evidence of his torture to be made public.

Earlier this month, judges refused to order the disclosure of a summary of US reports on his detention, citing a threat to US intelligence-sharing with Britain.

Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones ruled that some parts of papers referring to Mr Mohamed should remain secret, citing a threat from the US to halt the sharing of information on terrorism.

They said Foreign Secretary David Miliband believed there was a "real risk" such a move by the US would increase the danger of terrorism in the UK, but Mr Miliband later insisted there had been "no threat" by US authorities.

Mr Mohamed's lawyers now argue that the courts should reconsider their decision on the reports' disclosure after being misled about a threat over intelligence-sharing.

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SEE ALSO
Secrecy surrounds Guantanamo man
12 Feb 09 |  Americas
Bid to reveal 'torture' evidence
11 Feb 09 |  UK Politics
Tory pressure over 'torture' case
06 Feb 09 |  UK Politics
Profile: Binyam Mohamed
04 Feb 09 |  UK
Guantanamo inmate charges dropped
21 Oct 08 |  Americas

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