Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

UK to Build Own Version of “Guantanamo Bay” for Extremists | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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HM Prison Frankland and Long Newton Prison, in county Durham (Alamy)

London –The British parliament is currently looking into a draft-law that allows the building of a maximum-security prison for extremists and prisoners linked to terrorist attacks and propaganda.

The new prison, which was effectively named “Britain’s Guantanamo Bay” after the notorious US military prison on a naval base in Cuba, is located inside HM Frankland jail in Durham, and is expected to start operating next month.

The “prison within a prison” will be the first of its kind in the United Kingdom and is scheduled to open in Durham amid increasing fears that a large number of criminals are leaving British jails with extremist views.

Given the number of dangerous extremists it currently holds, HMP Frankland has been chosen to operate this new unit, which is expected to open in June.

In remarks to Britain’s Sky News, Steve Gillan, of the Prison Officers Association (POA), warned that extremists’ blocks could create Britain’s own version of Guantanamo Bay –– which could give extremists credibility within terrorist circles.

He added that the presence of such units could contribute to “politicizing” other prisoners.

In an email to Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Prisons and Probation Sam Gyimah said the new plan fell within Britain’s efforts to fight all forms of extremism and separate extremists in an attempt to prevent radicalization of other prisoners.

The establishment of the new unit is part of a wider strategy to deal with terrorism inside prisons to guarantee the safety of other prisoners and that of the British population.

Prisoners would undergo evaluation every three months to determine the level of threat they represent.

The plan was made upon a recommendation by an independent governmental body to counter extremism that is spreading inside UK prisons.