Britain to pay compensation to Guantanamo detainees
A British minister will address parliament Tuesday following media reports that the government is to pay millions of pounds in compensation to former Guantanamo Bay detainees.
The Cabinet Office, which handles government business, said in a statement that the government would update parliament about the case on Tuesday.
The settlement came after weeks of negotiations between the two sides, with two senior lawyers acting as independent arbiters, Independent Television News reported.
One former prisoner was in line to receive more than one million pounds (1.6 million dollars, 1.1 million euros), said ITN.
Under the terms of the deal, details of the settlement would remain confidential, the report added.
The reported settlement comes after the High Court ordered the release of 500,000 related documents in July, as part of an action brought against the government by six ex-detainees of the notorious US prison camp.
Bisher al-Rawi, Jamil el Banna, Richard Belmar, Omar Deghayes, Binyam Mohamed, Martin Mubanga have accused Britain’s intelligence services of having been complicit in their torture while abroad.
The Cabinet Office statement pointed out that Prime Minister David Cameron had told parliament in July that a situation in which the reputation of the security services has been called into question had to be resolved.
On July 6, Cameron announced an inquiry into claims Britain’s security services were complicit in the torture of suspected violent extremists on foreign soil after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
He also said that “wherever appropriate”, compensation would be offered to people who had brought civil court actions over their treatment.
“While there is no evidence that any British officer was directly engaged in torture in the aftermath of 9/11, there are questions over the degree to which British officers were working with foreign security services who were treating detainees in ways they should not have done,” Cameron said at the time.
The inquiry was due to start before the end of the year and was expected to report within 12 months.
The prime minister also announced plans to look again at how British courts handled intelligence, admitting that relations with the United States had been “strained” over the disclosure of secret information.
In February, a British court released secret evidence that one of the former Guantanamo inmates, Binyam Mohamed, had been subjected to “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment during questioning by US agents.
The information was made public in defiance of ministers’ warnings that such disclosures could harm relations with Washington.