Wednesday, January 12, 2005

THE UNITED STATES IS RELEASING the last four British detainees in Guantanamo Bay. These men -- Feroz Abbasi, Moazzam Begg, Richard Belmar, and Martin Mubanga -- have been held incommunicado, with no charges, no trial, and no access to attorneys, for more than two years. Their release now is still without any charges having been filed against them. One Australian detainee is also being released.

It's important to note that these men are being allowed to leave Guantanamo and return to their homes and families ONLY because they are British nationals, and the British government (or specific people in the British government, such as Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary) has been using its leverage as the Bush administration's only major ally in Iraq to negotiate for their release. These negotiations have been intense, high-level, and lengthy. Even so, the negotiations only resulted in freedom for Abbasi, Begg, Belmar, and Mubanga now because the British government promised to take responsibility for their behavior back in England, or wherever they go. The hundreds of other men imprisoned at Guantanamo, all of Muslim or Arab ethnicity, are not so lucky.

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