Legal battle over British detainees

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The Independent Online

A human rights organisation has announced the start of legal action against the Government over questions of alleged rendition to Afghanistan.

Reprieve will demand the Ministry of Defence gives answers about the treatment of two men arrested by the British in Iraq in 2004 who have since been held at the US detention facility at Bagram air force base in Afghanistan.

They have never been charged with an offence, and the periodic review of their status by the US military has been characterised by a US federal judge as falling "well short of what the Supreme Court found inadequate at Guantanamo".

The MoD claimed Reprieve's allegations were "unsubstantiated" and said the US had given assurances they were held in a "humane" environment. Clive Stafford Smith, director of Reprieve, said: "These two men have been held in appalling conditions for five years, and the Government chose to do nothing."