Prisoners Treated in Proper and Humane Way, Blair Insists; GUANTANAMO BAY: International Concern Persists

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Byline: War on terror

PRIME Minister Tony Blair insisted last night that dozens of suspected al-Qaeda fighters held prisoner by the Americans in cages at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba would be treated in a proper and humane way.

Amid growing criticism of the treatment of the detainees captured in Afghanistan, including three British Muslims, he said they should be held in accordance with the terms of the Geneva Convention.

But although Mr Blair told MPs that he had received assurances from the Americans about the treatment of the prisoners, the mounting international concern showed little sign of abating. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, said she was concerned about the situation and one leading human-rights lawyer accused the US of "trashing" the Geneva Convention which guaranteed the rights of prisoners of war.

In the Commons, Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy warned of the need to demonstrate that "our values remain above those who seek to destroy them". Senior Labour back-bencher Kevin McNamara cautioned that the West was in "danger of losing the high moral ground". …