Guantanamo man flying back to UK

Other News Materials 23 February 2009 15:27 (UTC +04:00)

A British resident detained at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba for more than four years is on his way back to the UK, the BBC understands.

Ethiopian-born Binyam Mohamed, 30, says he was tortured while being held in custody on suspicion of terrorism.

Charges against him were dropped last year, but a Pentagon spokesman said US authorities would not discuss detainee releases until they were complete.

The Foreign Office has not confirmed when Mr Mohamed will arrive in Britain.

The BBC understands that his flight is due to land in the UK around lunchtime on Monday.

On Friday, the Foreign Office said he would be returned to Britain "as soon as the practical arrangements can be made".

It is not clear if he will be allowed to stay in the UK, but Lord Carlile, the independent reviewer of terror laws, said he thought Mr Mohamed would be "given every opportunity, subject to the law, to integrate himself back" into society.

The BBC's security correspondent said previous Guantanamo Bay detainees had been questioned by police upon their return to the UK.

Mr Mohamed is said to be unwell after spending a month on hunger strike earlier this year, so he may also require medical attention once back in Britain, our correspondent added.

The US had accused Mr Mohamed of involvement in a plot to detonate a "dirty bomb" in America, but the charges were dropped in October.

Mr Mohamed says he was tortured into falsely confessing to terrorism and accuses British MI5 officers of complicity in his abuse.

He alleges he was secretly flown from Pakistan to Morocco and tortured before being moved to Afghanistan and on to Guantanamo Bay.

The UK attorney general is consulting the director of public prosecutions over whether to order a criminal investigation into the torture claims.

On Sunday, a Pentagon spokesman, US Navy Cmdr Jeffrey Gordon, said: "As a matter of long-standing policy, we do not discuss detainee transfers and releases until they are completed."

Mr Mohamed's lawyers say he poses no risk to the UK, and do not expect him to be arrested or detained by British authorities.

He had lived in the UK from the age of 15, before being arrested in Pakistan in 2002.

During his hunger strike, he was described by his legal team as "close to starvation," but last weekend he was declared well enough to travel back to the UK by a team of British officials who had visited him.