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Diego Garcia: Detainees

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 15th September 2008.

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Photo of Harry Cohen Harry Cohen Labour, Leyton and Wanstead

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 7 May 2008, Official Report, columns 932-33W, on Diego Garcia: detainees, what investigation his Department has carried out into the allegations relating to the USS Bataan and the USNS Stockholm.

Photo of Kim Howells Kim Howells Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Pursuant to my answer of 7 May 2008, Hansard, columns 932-33W, during the course of our most recent exchanges, the US have confirmed to us that they have not held any detainees on ships within the territorial waters of Diego Garcia since 11 September 2001. They have also informed us that they do not operate detention facilities for terrorist suspects onboard ships. US naval vessels were used in the early days of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan to screen and temporarily hold a very small number of individuals pending their transfer to land-based detention facilities. The US has informed us that these ships were not located within the territorial waters of Diego Garcia. We are not aware of any of these ships being supplied from the island.

In a matter unrelated to terrorist suspects, the US have informed us that they apprehended pirates on ships in the vicinity of the Horn of Africa and that these individuals were detained on US Naval vessels pending their delivery to the land of a nation with jurisdiction to try them.

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