‘UK GUAN­TANAMO’ BUILT

Daily Star Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - ■ EX­CLU­SIVE by PA­TRICK WIL­LIAMS

A SE­CRET prison has been built to hold ter­ror­ists cap­tured abroad, the Daily Star Sun­day has learned.

The unit, which has yet to be used, is at the Mil­i­tary Cor­rec­tive Train­ing Cen­tre (MCTC), in Colch­ester, Es­sex, in­set.

The MCTC is home to around 200 sol­diers of all ranks who have been sen­tenced to pe­ri­ods of de­ten­tion last­ing up to two years.

The “ji­hadi jail” is hid­den in a cor­ner of the Army com­plex.

It is cur­rently moth­balled but ready to be brought into ac­tion at a mo­ment’s no­tice.

Sources have told us it can hold around 20 in­mates in in­di­vid­ual cells and the build­ing is sur­rounded by 20-foot walls.

Cam­eras mean the move­ment of de­tainees can be mon­i­tored round the clock.

The jail was built to house any­one cap­tured in Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria, who might be brought back to the UK but would not nec­es­sar­ily be sub­ject to Bri­tish law.

A mil­i­tary source said: “It is a prison within a prison – ef­fec­tively Bri­tain’s Guan­tanamo. It is com­posed of in­di­vid­ual cells with toi­lets and show­ers and a kitchen. “For a prison, the stan­dard is very com­fort­able. A widescreen TV has been fit­ted to the wall for de­tainees to watch, there’s a li­brary and video games can be brought in.

“It is also prob­a­bly es­cape-proof. You have to go through a se­ries of se­cu­rity check­points to get in. Even if some­one did man­age to break out they would still be in­side a prison. If it ever comes into op­er­a­tion, de­tainees will be guarded by armed sol­diers.

“It will only ever be used in an emer­gency. It needs an or­der signed by the Sec­re­tary of State for De­fence for it to be made fully op­er­a­tional.”

The prison is run by mem­bers of the Mil­i­tary Provost Staff, the Army’s spe­cial­ists in cus­tody and de­ten­tion who are re­spon­si­ble for han­dling any­one cap­tured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Our source de­scribed the MPS as the ex­perts in prison han­dling.

They work with all reg­i­ments in the Bri­tish Army and have ad­vised UK spe­cial forces on han­dling de­tainees.

They dealt with hun­dreds of PoWs in Iraq and Afghanistan, mak­ing sure they were treated in ac­cor­dance with the Geneva Con­ven­tion.

It can also be re­vealed the MPS have been train­ing civil­ian prison staff in how to deal with ter­ror­ist pris­on­ers.

Provost per­son­nel have been run­ning “con­trol and re­straint” cour­ses at Wandsworth prison in Lon­don and have trained staff in the lat­est counter-ex­trem­ism tac­tics.

The source added: “The MPS have been run­ning a se­ries of cour­ses on coun­ter­ing ex­trem­ism and hostage ne­go­ti­a­tion.

“Prison of­fi­cers have been taught to iden­tify and then chal­lenge ex­trem­ist views and iden­tify those pris­on­ers who may be turned and pre­pared to work as agents for the state.”

Our in­sider went on: “The se­cret prison has never been used and may never be used but it’s there just in case.”

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