Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Thursday, 19 February 2004

Five Britons to be freed from Guantanamo Bay

Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, just announced that 5 of the 9 Britons being illegally held (this is obviously my description, not the Home Secretary's) are to be released and returned to the UK. I shall believe this when they actually arrive on British soil, though.

It is not clear whether they are going to be charged with anything when they arrive in the UK. If there are valid charges which can be brought against them, or the other 4 Britons, then I am all in favour of them being charged and, if convicted, being sentenced to whatever punishment is considered just (excluding the death penalty, which has already been ruled out we are told). Otherwise they need to be released. Period.

The others amongst the 600 or so detainees at Guantanamo Bay need to be treated similarly - charged forthwith, or released. It is simply unacceptable for the United States, normally a bastion of freedom and democracy, to behave like an international gangster and hold people indefinitely without trial. They have not dared to hold any US citizen in Guantanamo, and for good reason. It is becoming increasingly clear that, whilst I strongly suppported our and the US governments' actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, this present US administration has lost all sense of proportion in what is right and wrong for the government of a democracy. The verbal gymnastics which Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has been using to try and justify his government's monstrous actions no longer washes (after two years!!), if it ever did.

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