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UK resident released from Guantanamo

[JURIST] British resident and Iraqi citizen Bisher al-Rawi [Wikipedia profile] was released this weekend from the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] after nearly five years in custody as an enemy combatant. Officials have not confirmed the exact time of al-Rawi's release, but he issued a statement Sunday from his family's home in London. Al-Rawi expressed his happiness to be free and described his "nightmare" at Guantanamo: "Allegations are made against you that are laughably untrue, but you have no chance to prove them wrong. There is no trial, no fair legal process." Al-Rawi was also regretful that his "best friend" Jamil al-Banna [Wikipedia profile] remains imprisoned at Guantanamo.

Al-Rawi and al-Banna, also a UK resident, were originally suspected of ties to al Qaeda because of their alleged connection with radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada [BBC profile]. The men were arrested returning to the UK from Gambia with a suspicious electronic device, which they claimed was a battery charger, and were taken into US custody. Despite a general refusal to represent resident aliens at Guantanamo, the British government agreed to help secure al Rawi's release [JURIST report] last year after learning that al-Rawi had previously aided British security service MI5 [official website]. UK Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett announced al-Rawi's impending release [JURIST report] last Thursday; no official comments have been made regarding al-Banna's status. BBC News has more. AP has additional coverage.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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