Fears raised over Guantanamo sanity

The solitary confinement of a British detainee at the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is slowly driving him mad, his father warned on Monday.

    Moazzam Begg is being kept in solitary confinement

    Azmat Begg told BBC radio that his son Moazzam, who alleges that he has been tortured by his US handlers, was being driven insane by his detention in solitary confinement.

    "From what I gather from different sources, it looks that he is deteriorating very badly and things are going badly physically and mentally," Begg said.

    "I don't know how a person can stay in solitary confinement for such a long time and remain normal.

    "Why do they want him to go mental? Is it because he has seen a lot of cruelty and a lot of irregularities and violations of human rights? That is possibly why he is kept aside, so he doesn't talk about what he has seen to the other prisoners," Begg told the British broadcaster.

    Unfit for trial

    He said that by the time his son's case reached the courts he would be unfit to defend himself. "By that time, mentally he will be finished. He won't be able to say anything. He will be a cabbage," Begg said.

    Moazzam says he was tortured
    by his captors

    Moazzam Begg, 36, was arrested in Pakistan in February 2002 and was among nine Britons known to have been detained at Guantanamo Bay.

    Four of five Britons released in March, and subsequently freed upon return home, are suing US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other top US officials for alleged torture and abuse.

    A report released this weekend revealed that another Briton still detained at Guantanamo has claimed he was subjected to abuse and humiliation.

    Prisoner abuse

    Martin Mubanga, 31, told a visiting Foreign Office official he was kept shackled for so long that he urinated on himself, and then was forced to clean up the mess, that an interrogator stood on his hair and that he was subjected to extremely hot temperatures.

    The Red Cross, in a report leaked in late November to the New York Times, said prisoner abuse at Guantanamo amounted to "a form of torture".

    In a visit in June, the organisation witnessed a system devised to break the will of prisoners through "humiliating acts, solitary confinement, temperature extremes, use of forced positions".



    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.