Hain calls for closure of Guantanamo

PRESSURE to shut the United States' detention camp in Guantanamo Bay grew today after Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain backed its closure.

His comments came after a United Nations report - backed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan - called for the immediate closure of the controversial site in Cuba.

Mr Hain is believed to be the first Government minister explicitly to demand the closure. He also said he believed that Prime Minister Tony Blair shared his view.

Mr Hain said: "I would prefer that it wasn't there. I would prefer it was closed, yes."

Asked if it was Government policy that Guantanamo should be shut down, he replied: "That's what I think." And challenged on whether Mr Blair agreed with him, he said: "I think so, yes."

The camp was opened in 2002 to hold terror suspects seized during the Afghanistan war and is currently believed to contain around 500 inmates.

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