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Gitmo detainee son?s emotional appeal to Blair

His mother Sarah and their local MP, liberal Democrat Sarah Teather would also join Anas el-Banna when he delivers the letter, reports Vijay Dutt .

india Updated: Jan 11, 2007 03:56 IST
Vijay Dutt

The son of a Briton detained at Guantanamo Bay will on Thursday walk to 10, Downing Street to ask Prime Minister Tony Blair a question: “Why can't my Dad come home?”

His mother Sarah and their local MP, liberal Democrat Sarah Teather would also join Anas el-Banna when he delivers the letter.

Anas’s father Jamil is one of eight British residents languishing among the 400 inmates at the American base at Guantanamo Bay, which opened five years ago. Anas had written to the Prime Minister earlier. Campaigners have been demanding that the Foreign Office help free Jamil, who has five children, all of whom hold British passports.

Anas had first written to Blair when he was six. He did not get any reply. He wrote again to ask why the government was not helping his father return home. This second letter elicited a note from the Foreign Office stating that because Banna was not a British citizen — his wife and children are — nothing could be done for him.

Banna was taken to Guantanamo Bay four years ago after being seized in Gambia. He was accused of having a suspicious device in his luggage. It turned out to be a battery charger. No charges have been made. He suffers from severe diabetes, but his lawyers say he has not been offered medication and has been denied the food he needs. His eyesight is failing.

Teather, said the Banna children, who are of Jordanian origin but have grown up in North London, were devastated by their father's detention. Blair will come under tremendous pressure in this week of "action" to mark the fifth anniversary of Guantanamo Bay.

Email Vijay Dutt: vdutt@aol.com

First Published: Jan 11, 2007 03:56 IST