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Fourth Briton held by U.S.

Manacled detainees
Release of the Camp X-Ray pictures brought criticism in Britain  


LONDON, England (CNN) -- The British Foreign office said on Monday that the number of Britons now detained by the United States as part of the Afghanistan campaign has risen to at least four, and possibly five.

Three Britons were earlier transferred to Camp X-Ray in Cuba. The Foreign Office told CNN that a fourth Briton is being detained in Kandahar, along with a fifth person whose claim that he is a British citizen has not yet been verified.

The Briton in Kandahar whose identity has been confirmed is Ruhal Ahmed, 20, from the West Midlands region of England, the Foreign Office said.

Two of those now held in Cuba -- Shafiq Rasul, 24, and Asif Iqbal, 20 -- also came from West Midlands, officials said. British newspapers are reporting they all attended the same school in the town of Tipton.

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The third detainee at Camp X-Ray is Feroz Abbasi, 22, from Croydon in south London, the Foreign Office said.

The name of the fifth detainee is not being released pending the check on his identity.

The two in Kandahar have not yet been visited by British consular officials, the Foreign Office said.

The three in Cuba were visited there by British officials, who said the detainees showed no signs of, and voiced no complaints about, ill treatment.

The officials who visited the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay said the detainees spoke "without inhibition" to them and confirmed they were being treated well, Foreign Office Minister Ben Bradshaw told the House of Commons.

The U.S. government calls the prisoners "unlawful combatants" or "detainees" rather than prisoners of war assigned legal rights under the Geneva Conventions, but insists they are being treated humanely.

Human rights groups and some British politicians have criticised the treatment of the prisoners. British Prime Minister Tony Blair has sought to balance defending U.S. authorities with insisting the prisoners' human rights must be guaranteed.



 
 
 
 



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