Why is my dad far away in that place called Guantanamo Bay?

Guantanamo5Ten-year-old Anas el-Banna will walk to the door of Number 10 Downing Street this week to ask for an answer to the question he has been trying to have answered for four years: Why can’t my Dad come home?

His father, Jamil, is one of eight British residents languishing among the almost 400 inmates at the American base at Guantanamo Bay, which opened five years ago to the day this Thursday – the day of Anas’s protest.

Mr Banna, was taken to Guantanamo Bay four years ago after being seized in Gambia along with fellow detainee Bisher al-Rawi. 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 now failing.

A year ago, his son wrote to Tony Blair for the second time to ask why the Government was not helping him return home. The then six-year-old did not even receive a reply. The second letter elicited a cursory note from the Foreign Office. It stated that because Mr Banna is not a British citizen, although his wife and children are, nothing could be done for him.

Independent, 9 January 2007