Death penalty a possibility for British inmates held on Cuba

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The Independent US

The three British al-Qa'ida suspects held at Guantanamo Bay could face the death penalty, MPs were warned by an American official yesterday.

Glyn Davies, the deputy head of mission at the US embassy in London, refused to be drawn on their individual fates at talks with the parliamentary human rights committee.

The delegation of eight Labour MPs and one Liberal Democrat had called for the 160 men at Camp X-Ray to be classed as prisoners of war to guarantee them human and legal rights under the Geneva Convention. They also protested against the conditions at the naval base and claimed the release of photographs of the inmates had humiliated them.

Mr Davies said many were likely to be returned to Afghanistan, but could not rule out the death penalty for any prisoners convicted of terrorist offences.

Ann Clwyd, the Labour former frontbencher who led the group, said: "We talked about the likely future of the prisoners. It was pointed out that the death penalty could be or might be imposed upon them.

"The embassy did say the US did understand the strength of feeling against the death penalty in Europe, but nevertheless some of those detained and ultimately tried could get that death penalty." She said the MPs had been reassured that their concerns would be relayed to the American government.