Treatment of Prisoners (United States)

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 3rd December 2013.

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Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington 11:30 am, 3rd December 2013

What steps his Department is taking to promote the humane treatment of prisoners held in the US; if he will make representations on the fairness of the trial of the Miami Five to his US counterpart; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Hugh Robertson Hugh Robertson Minister of State

The British Government work through our network of US posts and with the EU to promote the humane treatment of prisoners held in the United States. The United States Government have stated that the Miami five have had the same privileges available to them as all other US prisoners.

Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

I am grateful to the Minister for that reply, but will he indicate his response to widespread reports that US-based journalists were paid to write prejudicial articles about the case before and during the trial? In the interests of natural justice, will he make representations to the US State Department on the issue?

Photo of Hugh Robertson Hugh Robertson Minister of State

As the hon. Gentleman is no doubt aware, this complicated case stretches back many years. If I am correct, the trial was in December 2001—more than a decade ago. It is further complicated by the fact that there are intelligence implications and a read-across to other cases in Cuba. The UK has no direct locus in this case as it exists between the US and Cuba. If the hon. Gentleman has information that should have been made available about the case, I suggest it is made available to US judicial authorities as a matter of urgency.