Page last updated at 12:16 GMT, Saturday, 21 February 2009

Guantanamo man 'can settle in UK'

Binyam Mohamed
Mr Mohamed claims confessions were obtained using torture

A UK resident soon to be released from Guantanamo Bay is unlikely to face harassment by British authorities, says the UK reviewer of terror laws.

Lord Carlile said he thought Binyam Mohamed would be "given every opportunity, subject to the law, to integrate himself back" into society.

Mr Mohamed has been detained since 2002 and spent more than four years at the controversial US military base in Cuba.

It is not clear if the Ethiopian-born man will be allowed to stay in the UK.

On Friday, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said agreement had been reached with the US for 30-year-old Mr Mohamed's return "as soon as the practical arrangements can be made".

Alleged torture

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Carlile is the independent reviewer of terror laws for the government.

He said: "I would expect a light and gentle touch to be applied to ensure that he [Mr Mohamed] is not harassed in any way by the authorities and is given every opportunity, subject to the law, to integrate himself back into British society."


He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I hope very much, and I trust, that he will be given every facility available to be able to return to a normal life as a British resident."

The US had accused Mr Mohamed of involvement in a plot to detonate a "dirty bomb" in America, but all charges against him were dropped last year.

Mr Mohamed claims he was tortured into falsely confessing to terrorism and alleges UK MI5 officers were complicit in his abuse.

He alleges he was secretly flown from Pakistan to Morocco and tortured before being moved to Afghanistan and on to Guantanamo Bay.

The UK attorney general is consulting the director of public prosecutions over whether to order a criminal investigation into Mr Mohamed's torture claims.

Immigration status

Lord Carlile said there was little prospect of UK legal action against Mr Mohamed.

"There is some evidence that he has been tortured. The British government could not act on any such evidence because evidence obtained by torture is simply not acceptable."

Mr Mohamed's lawyers say he poses no risk to the UK, and do not expect him to be arrested or detained by British authorities.

But BBC world affairs correspondent Allan Little has said that Mr Mohamed's immigration status in the UK remains "very much under review".

Guantanamo protest
Protests over the detention have been held outside the US embassy in London
Mr Mohamed had lived in the UK from the age of 15, before being arrested in Pakistan in 2002.

Former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg expressed concern that there were no procedures in place to help readjustment to normal life.

"There is no rehabilitation programme, nothing as far as the government is concerned, which helps to reintroduce this person into normal society after, in the case of Binyam... seven years without charge or trial," he told the Today programme.

"Binyam has been tortured terribly, we believe. So those sorts of conditions, for the strongest of us, are very difficult to deal with, and in the case of somebody who returns to this country, where he has no family members, it's going to be doubly difficult."

Mr Mohamed went on hunger strike for more than a month earlier this year, and was described by his legal team as "close to starvation".

However, last weekend he was declared well enough to travel back to the UK by a team of British officials who had visited him.

Meanwhile, the BBC has learned the UK government will not press for the remaining UK Guantanamo detainee Shaker Aamer to be freed.

The US government has previously refused requests to release Mr Aamer and a Foreign Office spokesman said Britain was "no longer in active discussions" for his release.

Campaigners disputed this, saying Mr Aamer's lawyers had confirmation in writing from the Foreign Office that the government was still calling for his return.

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