Guantanamo payout for Brighton lawyer Omar Deghayes

Posted On 16 Nov 2010 at 2:16 pm

Brighton lawyer Omar Deghayes is to receive compensation from the government over his detention in Guantanamo Bay in a confidential settlement.

Libyan-born Mr Deghayes, who spent part of his childhood in Saltdean and settled there as an adult, is one of 12 former detainees to have reached an agreement with government solicitors.

And he is one of 16 British citizens or residents who are to receive a payout to settle a legal action.

Mr Deghayes was one of six former detainees leading the legal action.

He was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 on suspicion of being a terrorist although he has never been charged.

He says that he was the victim of mistaken identity.

He was blinded in his right eye during his five-year detention without trial and released in December 2007 after a long campaign.

His legal claim was that the government, including the security services MI5 and MI6, were involved in his transfer to the American-run detention centre.

He and some of his fellow former inmates also claim that the government was complicit in their torture and should have prevented their ill-treatment and their transfer to the Cuban base.

Ken Clarke, the Justice Secretary, was making an announcement about their case in the House of Commons in response to a verdict by the Court of Appeal in May.

The court ruled that the evidence should be heard in open court while the government wanted to defend itself with evidence heard in secret.

The Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government indicated earlier this year that it did not want a prolonged court case publicly examing the secret services and their work.

Talks have been held and damages agreed, averting a legal of £30 million to £50 million, Mr Clarke said.

The government has always denied being complicit in torture and, once a police investigation has been completed, a public inquiry into the former detainees’ allegations is expected to take place.