Prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba are getting bagels and cream cheese for breakfast, as well as prayers broadcast over the PA system, it emerged yesterday in the clearest picture yet of the conditions inside Camp X-Ray.
They are also given pre-packed Islamic meals, as much water as they need, daily medical checks and, according to Tony Blair's official spokesman, arrangements are being made for them to receive copies of the Quran.
American sources have suggested that the food is "culturally neutral," smilar to a TV dinner, in that the hot dishes are served in tinfoil. A typical daily menu could include Fruit Loops cereal for breakfast; beef or vegetable stew, garlic bagel chips, peanuts, granola bars and raisins for lunch; and red beans, white rice, sunflower seeds, fruit and white bread for dinner.
London and Washington reiterated that the prisoners were being treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention.
Downing Street's release of details from a report showing that British prisoners had "no substantial complaints" about their conditions was intended to defuse criticism over the treatment of Al Qaeda suspects.
Blair's spokesman said that photographs published over the weekend showing a group of prisoners kneeling down, with their arms manacled and wearing large black goggles and ear cups, were taken on arrival and did not reflect the conditions under which they are held.
He confirmed that three British citizens are being held at the camp, adding that British officials who had visited them had found they were in good physical health and showed no signs of mistreatment. He said: "Nobody is pretending that [the conditions] are luxurious, but they are basic and they are fit for the requirements of the detainees.
"There were no gags, no goggles, no ear muffs, no shackles while the detainees are in their cells. They only wear shackles — and only shackles — when they are outside their cells."
The three Britons had sent messages to their families. The government would confirm the identity only of Feroz Abbasi, 22, from Croydon, South London, because his relatives had already made known that he was being held.
Later Ben Bradshaw, the Foreign Office Minister, told MPs the report proved that claims that Al Qaeda suspects held in Cuba were being tortured were "completely false."