Guantanamo detainees lose UK court bid to force government to help with release

[JURIST] The UK High Court on Thursday rejected the petition [judgment text] of a group of British residents detained at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] appealing against the government's decision not to press the US government to release the detainees. The detainees asked the court [JURIST report] to compel the British government to try and negotiate their release and to declare the decision of UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw [official profile] not to pursue the issue "legally unsustainable." The court refused, saying "it could not require the [government] to make a formal request. That would be an interference in the relationship between sovereign states which could only be justified if a clear duty in domestic or international law had been identified ... there is no such duty in the present case."

Last year, a group of British citizens held at Guantanamo Bay were transferred to the UK [JURIST report] by US authorities at the UK government's request and were later released. Australian Guantanamo detainee David Hicks [JURIST news archive] has petitioned UK authorities to be recognized as a British citizen in the hopes that the government will then secure his release. Hicks' mother is a British citizen, making Hicks eligible for citizenship, but the government has not yet approved Hicks' request citing public policy concerns [JURIST report]. In an appeals court decision [text; JURIST report] last month, the UK Court of Appeal held that Hicks should be granted British citizenship. From the UK, the Telegraph has more.

 

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