updated 11/1/2004 9:30:53 AM ET 2004-11-01T14:30:53

British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s wife implicitly criticized President Bush in a talk at Harvard University, saying she supported a U.S. Supreme Court decision that dealt a blow to his policy on Guantanamo Bay detainees, a newspaper reported Sunday.

The prime minister, a close ally of Bush, has remained studiously neutral in the presidential race, and his wife, Cherie Booth, has generally avoided commenting on American politics.

But in a closed-door speech to about 100 people at Harvard, Booth praised a Supreme Court decision in a case brought by two Britons freed from Guantanamo, according to London’s The Mail on Sunday, which said it obtained a leaked copy of the talk.

The ruling said foreign terrorism suspects may use the American legal system to challenge their detention, a blow to Bush’s policy of holding detainees at Guantanamo without judicial review.

Booth called the decision “profoundly important” and a “significant victory for human rights and the international rule of law,” the newspaper reported.

Booth, a prominent human rights lawyer, has been touring the United States to promote her book, “The Goldfish Bowl.”

Blair’s 10 Downing St. office said Booth had been speaking in her capacity as a lawyer and not as the prime minister’s wife.

“These were in no way political opinions,” a Blair spokesman said on customary condition of anonymity.

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