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Guantánamo must stay open, say MPs

London Telegraph | January 21, 2007 
Ben Leapman

America's Guantánamo Bay detention camp for terrorist suspects must stay open for now, because many detainees remain "a real threat to public safety", a House of Commons committee has concluded.

However, MPs on the Foreign Affairs Committee say the Government needs to work with America on alternative arrangements so the camp, an enclave in Cuba, can be closed as soon as possible.

In their report, published today, they said: "Those detained at Guantánamo must be dealt with transparently and in full conformity with all applicable national and international law. But we recognise… that many of those detained present a real threat to public safety and that all states are under an obligation to protect their citizens and those of other countries from that threat."

The committee praised the Government for refusing to take responsibility for eight British residents, all foreign nationals, who have been held at the camp for up to four years without trial.

It said that the Geneva Convention, which America has been accused of breaching, was out of date.

Freed detainees have described torture and inhumane treatment at the camp, but the MPs said it was "unlikely" that the abuse was still going on.

Campaigners for the inmates responded with fury. Sarah Teather, the Liberal Democrat MP, said the committee had been given "the VIP antiseptic tour" during a visit last September.

She said: "The committee were given no direct access to prisoners, and do not appear to have taken evidence either from former detainees, or lawyers or families of current detainees. Families will be rightly disappointed by this report."

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