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UK Asks US to Release Five Men from Guantanamo
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The British government on Tuesday asked the United States to release five British residents being held in the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In a statement, British Foreign Office said that Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary had decided to request the release from Guantanamo Bay and return to Britain of five men.

The five have been named as Shaker Aamer, Jami El Banna, Omar Deghayes, Binyam Mohamed and Abdennour Sameur.

The Foreign Office said British government "welcomes recent steps taken by the US government to reduce the numbers of those detained at Guantanamo Bay and to move towards the closure the detention facility."

"Discussions with the US government about the release and return of these five men may take some time," the statement said. "The government will of course continue to take all necessary measures to maintain national security."

The request is a change of policy for British government which had previously said it could not intercede for non-British citizens.

The new British government under Gordon Brown seems willing to be more flexible in its conduct of the "war on terror" declared by US President George W. Bush.

"The situation has now changed and the Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary have reviewed the government's approach in light of these circumstances," the statement said.

The five are not British nationals but had been granted refugee status, indefinite leave or exceptional leave to remain before they were detained at the Guantanamo Bay center.

(Xinhua News Agency August 8, 2007)

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