Goldsmith critical of Guantanamo policy
Thursday 08 October 2009
Tony Blair's former law chief has attacked the British Government for undermining Barack Obama's efforts to close Guantanamo Bay.
Lord Goldsmith, the former Attorney General, said that Gordon Brown and the Foreign Office should do more to provide homes for some of the 223 detainees still held at the US naval base in Cuba.
In one of his first acts as President, Mr Obama gave himself a year to close the controversial prison, but the US government has encountered setbacks as it sifts through complex cases that include evidence possibly tainted by abuse. It has also struggled to persuade other countries to take some of the detainees, with only 27 transferred since Mr Obama came to power in January.
Lord Goldsmith criticised the Foreign Office for not co-operating over prisoner relocation, forcing the US recently to negotiate directly with Bermuda to place several detainees.
At the International Bar Association conference in Madrid, Lord Goldsmith told The Independent: "The UK should offer to take more of those detainees... More could be done, as illustrated by the recent row over the US negotiations to transfer some to Bermuda."
Lord Goldsmith explained: "The Foreign Office was upset that the Americans negotiated directly with the Bermuda government, bypassing the British. However, the real point is that if the Foreign Office and the British Government had been more helpful regarding detainee transfers then the US wouldn't have felt that it had to go direct to the Bermudans."
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