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Guantanamo Detainees Deserve All the Support this Country can Give Them

Press Release 23rd January 2005

Scotland Against Criminalising Communities is pressing the Home Office to treat the returning detainees with respect and sensitivity.

SACC welcomes the news that the remaining four British citizens held at Guantanamo Bay are expected home on Tuesday. We send our best wishes to the men and their families.

But we are disturbed by suggestions that the men may be arrested and questioned by police on their arrival. The US authorities have failed to uncover any evidence of wrongdoing by these men during three years of intensive interrogation and torture. There can now be no reason why the men should should spend a single minute inside a British police station. The men are torture victims. Two of them - Moazzam Begg and Feroz Abbasi, have spent years in solitary confinement under appalling conditions. They need and deserve the best medical care, counselling and support that our country can provide.

Representatives of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) are expected to meet with Home Office Minister Hazel Blears on Monday to press for the detainees to be provided with proper support.Council spokesman Inayat Bunglawala has said: "Our concern is that when they arrive these four Britons receive medical attention and care because they have been very heavily traumatised and possibly tortured as well."

SACC has sent a message to Hazel Blears and to Home Secretary Charles Clarke supporting the views expressed by the MCB. Four of the five detainees who came home last March were arrested and taken to bleak cells at Paddington Green police station. This shameful episode must not be repeated.