Guantanamo four are 'too dangerous to free'

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The four British Muslims who are to remain at Guantanamo Bay are too dangerous to be released, an American official was last night reported as saying.

All four trained at al-Qa'ida camps where they learned bombmaking, methods of assassination and urban warfare techniques, making them a "serious threat" should they be released, the source said. The highly unusual step of releasing details of the charges against the men had been taken to counteract opinion expressing concern over the conditions in which detainees were being held at the prison camp in Cuba.

The four are Feroz Abbasi, 23, from Croydon, south London, Moazzam Begg, 36, from Birmingham, Richard Belmar, 23, and Martin Mubanga, 29, both from London. Five other detainees are expected to be returned to the UK this week.

Louise Christian, a lawyer for the families of two of the men - Mr Abbasi and Mr Mubanga - reacted angrily to the claims, reported in today's Daily Telegraph. "It is outrageous that these allegations are being made when the detainees do not have a voice."

The unnamed Bush administration official justified the public airing of confidential evidence. "If the British Government had captured Luftwaffe pilots bombing London during the middle of World War Two, they would not have given them lawyers to argue that they were innocent," he said.