Powerful British drama explores issues surrounding British identity, intelligence services and suicide bombers
They once called it ‘asymmetrical warfare’ and a ‘good PR move’ but the US administration may soon have to call the alleged suicides of prisoners in Guantanamo something they were trying to hide all along: murder.
How Jamil El-Banna , Omar Deghayes and Abdenour Sameur were welcomed back to the UK after 6 years in Guantanamo Bay
Gareth Peirce is a human rights lawyer who has since the 1970s represented individuals accused of involvement in terrorism from both the Irish and the Muslim communities. Inspired by the U.S. civil-rights movement, Peirce first made headlines by securing the release of falsely imprisoned IRA suspects. She has been incensed by the anti-terror regulations introduced since September 11. Her legendary dedication to clients remains seemingly undiminished by decades of prison visits and interminable waits for judgments in gloomy courthouse corridors. Her clients include the Birmingham Six, the Guildford four, former MI5 operative David Shayler, Guantanamo detainees, the family of Jean Charles de Menezes, and many of the men detained without trial in the UK or under a control order regime. She speaks to Moazzam Begg in this exclusive interview about their cases and the parallels with internment.
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Moazzam Begg gives a comprehensive response to allegations made in the press by Gita Sahgal, formerly of Amnesty International
Restrictive control orders based on secret evidence can break the family structure and violate basic human rights of people who have not even been charged with a crime.
I was quite astonished earlier this year when our Prime Minister met with former Guantanamo Bay detainees and shook hands with them on a visit to Saudi Arabia. This was particularly disconcerting since I had gone to 10 Downing Street on 11th January last year, to mark six years of Guantanamo – accompanied by several others – to deliver a letter calling for the return of three British residents, and he didn’t even answer. In fact, he’s never met with any of the British former Guantanamo prisoners. But I’ve got something a little different planned for this year.
Since the story broke about the recent Detroit bomb plot, the media has reported frantically that Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab – who is alleged to have sewn explosives into his underwear in order to avoid detection at airport security – became radicalised and recruited by extremists during his time in the UK, with particular reference to his period as President of the Islamic Society at the University of College London (UCL).
News that the UK government is seeking the release of five British residents from US detention is very welcome. But it is not the end of our campaign.
I attracted more than a few looks of disbelief when I told an audience at a community meeting recently that I was actually looking forward to going to Guantánamo Bay. Their reaction was predictable but I wanted to explain why I would make such a bizarre statement. Although Guantánamo Bay contains the world's most notorious prison, it is by no means the world's worst.
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