Page last updated at 18:05 GMT, Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Guantanamo inmate control warning

Guantanamo inmates
The fate of remaining Guantanamo inmates is likely to prove controversial

Placing any inmates of Guantanamo Bay who may come to the UK under control orders may be both illegal and unacceptable, it has been claimed.

Lord Carlile, the Lib Dem peer who scrtunises anti-terror laws, said it was "over-simplistic" to assume such measures could be used in such cases.

President Barack Obama says Guantanamo must shut within a year.

The US has asked allies to take in inmates whom it does not intend to put on trial.

'Not routine'

This would include detainees who could not be sent home for fear they would be mistreated.

The issue of where those still held in Guantanamo could end up was expected to be one of the issues discussed by Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton during their meeting on Tuesday - the first between a member of the Obama administration and the UK government.

So far, the UK is the only EU country to have taken any former inmates back and the government is now focusing on the eventual fate of two former residents still being held there.

It is over-simplistic to assume that they would be appropriate, acceptable, practicable or even lawful
Lord Carlile on control orders

But publishing his annual report on the use of control orders, Lord Carlile - the independent reviewer of anti-terror laws for the government - said it was wrong to assume that such measures could be used on any Guantanamo detainees.

Introduced in 2005, control orders give the home secretary powers to impose strict conditions on a subject's movement and activities.

These can include a ban on using the internet or mobile phones, being told to observe a curfew or other restrictions on travel, banning someone from airports or other locations, electronic tagging, and being told to report regularly to a police station.

"Control orders are not a routine form of control of people who are perceived to be potentially troublesome," he said.

"It is over-simplistic to assume that they would be appropriate, acceptable, practicable or even lawful against a group of people simply because they had been detained elsewhere, under a foreign jurisdiction."

'Reassurance needed'

Former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith said last month the UK should be prepared to accept some Guantanamo inmates if could help ensure the closure of the detention centre.

The Conservatives have urged ministers to make clear how many such cases there may be and how they would be selected.

The Lib Dems say the UK must "play its part" in helping close Guantanamo - but have also said the US must provide reassurances about the status of anyone ending up in the UK.

Lord Carlile said that at the end of last year, there were 15 terrorist suspects in the UK currently subject to control orders.

He said there had been "numerous breaches" of control orders in the past year which had not resulted in criminal charges, due for instance to unpunctual reporting or equipment problems.

He said tagging equipment was generally reliable although there remained "room for improvement" in the technology used.

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