No option but to pay ex-Guantanamo detainees, claim public affairs experts

The coalition Government has no option but to compensate ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees, according to public affairs experts.

Out of court settlement: sanctioned by Cameron
Out of court settlement: sanctioned by Cameron
ITN has reported that the Government will today announce payments of millions of pounds in compensation to former Guantanamo Bay detainees following negotiations between government lawyers and the former prisoners.

David Cameron sanctioned the negotiations in July after the High Court ruled confidential documents would have to be released during any court proceedings.

The Government is expected to announce that the payments are to be made in order to protect the security services' methods from scrutiny.

Fiona Mason, managing director, public affairs at Mandate said: ‘Clearly the Government acknowledges that things could have been handled better, however it must be remembered it was the previous government that was responsible for protecting the rights of the detainees. It shows the sensitive balance between the need to protect national security and individual rights.'
 
George Pascoe-Watson, partner at Portland and former political editor of The Sun, added: ‘These payments are the least worst option for any government. There is no perfect solution. Many voters will hate seeing their taxes spent compensating these people.
 
‘But the Prime Minister has to listen to the security services. Their advice to Cameron was clear. Letting this continue to unravel would have put Britain’s intelligence relationship with the US at risk. That could cost more lives in the long run.
 
‘These are complex issues. The Government’s decision to pay this compensation is proof there is no cover-up.  National security demands that secrets are kept. That is the bottom line for any Prime Minister, no matter how unpalatable the payments are.’

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