Security services 'linked to injustice of torture victims'

THE security services were accused yesterday of being linked to the "real injustice" of two British residents being detained and allegedly tortured at Guantanamo Bay.

The accusation came during a High Court challenge to Foreign Secretary Jack Straw's refusal to request the release of three men from the US detention camp in Cuba. All three are resident in the UK, and two senior judges were being asked to declare the refusal "legally unsustainable".

The government maintains that - as foreign nationals - Bisher al-Rawi, Jamil el-Banna and Omar Deghayes have no legal right to the assistance they seek. But the judges heard the Foreign Office had now conceded representations would be made to the US authorities for the release of Mr al-Rawi because of the circumstances of his case.

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Mr al-Rawi, 37, an Iraqi national who had lived in Britain since 1985, and his Jordanian business partner Mr el-Banna, who was granted refugee status in 2000, were detained three years ago in Gambia.

According to statements, they were alleged to have been associated with al-Qaeda through their connection with the radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada. Mr al-Rawi has always maintained that he had contact with Qatada which was "expressly approved and encouraged by British intelligence", to whom he supplied information about the cleric.

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