Diplomats will visit 'al-Qa'ida' Britons

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Diplomats were given assurances that they will be allowed to see three unidentified British nationals being held by the Americans as suspected al-Qa'ida fighters.

The United States cleared the visit after concerns were voiced on conditions at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where prisoners are said to be kept in cages.The Foreign Office confirmed that three Britons are being held.

The Prime Minister's spokesman said: "We have been given assurances that the individuals concerned will be treated humanely. We will be granted consular access." He added that the prisoners were held in accordance with "international norms of behaviour".

His statement follows a telephone discussion between Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, and Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State.

The Pentagon has dismissed claims that the prisoners are being badly treated. Victoria Clarke, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said they were receiving three "culturally appropriate" meals a day and were being allowed to shower every day. She said representatives from the Red Cross would visit this week.

The UK Government has not commented on reports that the British prisoners could face the death penalty.