‘UK GUANTANAMO’ BUILT
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.”