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US praised Guantanamo detainee
A former Guantanamo prisoner is praised in classified document by US envoy in resettling ex-detainees.
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2010 17:18 GMT
Begg was held for a total of three years at Bagram internment facility in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay  [EPA]

The US ambassador to Luxembourg praised a former Guantanamo Bay detainee for lobbying European governments to accept former inmates of the American military prison, according to a leaked diplomatic
cable.

One of more than 290 cables posted so far by the secret-spilling website WikiLeaks quotes Cynthia Stroum, US ambassador to Luxembourg, as saying that former Guantanamo prisoner Moazzam Begg was "doing our work for us" by pressing European officials to take in those interned at Guantanamo - a key priority of President Barack Obama's administration, which has struggled to close the controversial prison.

Begg, a Briton who says he was mistreated while at Guantanamo, was in Luxembourg in January to press the case for the resettlement of Guantanamo inmates.

The cable describes his interactions with Jean Asselborn,  Luxembourg's foreign minister, as well as a question-and-answer session in which Begg made the case for accepting Guantanamo detainees.

Stroum seemed impressed by what she described as Begg's "articulate, reasoned" performance.

"Rather than stressing past injustices, he focused on what to do now," she said. "He acknowledged that he lives with the past, but that he now wants to be part of the solution, and is working to convince Luxembourg and other governments - and their populaces - to want the same."

"It is ironic that after four years of imprisonment and alleged torture, Moazzam Begg is delivering the same demarche to (the government of Luxembourg) as we are: Please consider accepting (Guantanamo) detainees for resettlement.''

Asim Qureshi, the executive director of Cageprisoners, a London-based group which works to highlight the plight of around 170 inmates still being held in Guantanamo, said Begg has seen the file, which he described as a kind of vindication for a man who was held among people labelled as "the worst of the worst" by Donald Rumsfeld, former US secretary of defence.

American officials have "never come out and apologised to any of the Guantanamo guys," Qureshi said. "Here, what you have really for the first time is acknowledgement of the human side of these men."

But not all cables show diplomatic support for Guantanamo detainees.

A February 2009 cable details the incredulous response of Jaber Khaled al-Sabah, Kuwait's interior minister, to the possibility of Kuwait taking in Guantanamo detainees.

"I can talk to you into next week about building a rehabilitation centre, but it won't happen. We are not Saudi Arabia; we cannot isolate these people in desert camps or somewhere on an island," said al-Sabah.

"If they are rotten, they are rotten and the best thing to do is get rid of them. You picked them up in Afghanistan; you should drop them off in Afghanistan, in the middle of the war zone."

Source:
Agencies
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