Saturday, February 21, 2009

Only in Britain, you say?

The UK and US Governments have reached agreement on the transfer of Mr Binyam Mohamed from Guantanamo Bay to the UK. He will be returned as soon as the practical arrangements can be made. This result follows recent discussions between the British and US Governments and a medical assessment, undertaken by a UK doctor, that Mr Mohamed is medically fit to return.

The UK Government requested the release and return of all former legal UK residents detained at Guantanamo Bay in August 2007. The Home Secretary and I took this decision in light of work by the US Government to reduce the number of those detained at Guantanamo with the aim of closing the facility and our wish to offer practical and concrete support to those efforts. In reaching this decision we gave full consideration to the need to maintain national security and the Government’s overriding responsibilities in this regard.

Mr Mohamed’s return does not constitute a commitment by the Home Secretary that he may remain permanently in the UK. His immigration status will be reviewed following his return and the same security considerations will apply to him as would apply to any other foreign national in this country. As always, all appropriate steps will be taken to protect national security. (emphasis added)
That announcement was made yesterday by the British Foreign Office. Clearly, some cases are in motion, despite Obama's diplomatic words on Thursday about the need to review all cases and decisions in other cases such as Omar Khadr's not being imminent.

Update: This post probably gave too much credit to the British government here who have acted throughout the Mohamed case rather shamefully, in refusing to produce exculpatory evidence to him in order to defend himself. The point was to draw a contrast between the British government that has at long last acted to get this British resident out of Guantanamo with our own.