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British Citizens Held in Guantanamo to Return Home - 2004-02-19


Britain says five of the nine British citizens held as terrorist suspects by the United States at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will be returned home in the coming weeks.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says the agreement was reached following months of diplomatic and legal negotiations between London and Washington.

Mr. Straw says the five British detainees will be subject to arrest and possible prosecution when they arrive back home.

"Once the detainees are back in the United Kingdom I understand the police will consider whether to arrest them, under the Terrorism Act 2000, for questioning in connection with possible terrorist activity," he said.

Mr. Straw says discussions continue with the Americans on the fate of four other British prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay camp.

The detentions in Guantanamo have been criticized because the prisoners have been held without charge or trial.

The U.S. military opened the Guantanamo camp to hold combatants captured in Afghanistan following the September, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States.