Guantanamo families hold government talks

A delegation of Muslims will be lobbying the British government to secure the release of UK prisoners from Guantanamo Bay this Tuesday.

Prisoners with their hands tied are forced to kneel in the sun
Prisoners with their hands tied are forced to kneel in the sun

Azmat Begg, the father of Moazzam Begg who has been held in Guantanamo for two years without charge, will be among those holding talks with Baroness Simmons, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

Mozzam Begg, a father of four from central England was kidnapped by US forces from Pakistan in Febuary 2002 and taken into Afghanistan against his will, according to his solicitor.

He was transferred to Guantanamo Bay a year later after being held in primitive conditions in Bagram’s US-controlled prison. His family insists that he is innocent and is demanding that he is released by the Americans and returned to the UK.

”I want my son back home, if the Americans have any evidence against him they should allow the British authorities to put him on trial here. He has been locked up for two years without charge, this has torn the whole family apart” says Azmat Begg.

”He has been locked up for two years without charge, this has torn the whole family apart”

Azmat Begg, father of prisoner Mozam Begg

He hopes that the meeting with the Foreign Office will provide him with answers as to what the British government is doing behind the scenes to ensure that his son and others receive a fair trial.

”The last time I heard from my son was in June, via letter. I know that his health is suffering, especially his mental health, I pray that he is able to cope with the situation that he finds himself in.”


Campaigners working with the families of prisoners are unhappy with the response that they have had so far from the Foreign Office.

Shaz Munir, working with the pressure group Prisoner of the west feels that the British government isn’t doing enough to ensure that prisoners are receiving their basic human rights.

Guantanamo is a closed prison
Guantanamo is a closed prison

”A group of us met Baroness Simmons a few weeks ago to discuss our concerns. We showed her letters from British prisoners who say that they are constantly hungry and not receiving enough food to eat. 

“I feel that Baroness Simmons was trying to pacify us with her assurances that the government is looking into our concerns, we have yet to see any action,” said Munir.


An Australian lawyer representing a number of prisoners says that the US military is torturing captives. Richard Bourke, told and Australian television news channel that methods of torture were similar to those found in the ”dark ages.”

Bourke claims that he has received leaked reports from the US military personnel and eyewitness accounts from individuals who have been released by the Americans.

”One of the detainees had described being taken out and tied to a post and having rubber bullets fired at them. They were being made to kneel cruciform in the sun until they collapsed,” he said.

Bourke is calling on the governments of the world to stand up to the White House and demand that the United Nations investigates reports of torture.

Algerian lawyer, Hassan Ariebi, who revealed last month that Guantanamo Bay guards had converted to Islam, is also calling on human rights activists to work for the prisoners’ release.

“I have visisted Washington and New York and tried to convince the Americans that a lot of the prisoners are innocent.

“Algerian prisoners were taken from Bosnia and have no connection whatsoever with al-Qaida members. I met some of the freed prisoners when they were released.

“They confirmed to me that some of the Camp X-ray guards converted to Islam because they sympathised with the innocent prisoners,” he told

Source : Al Jazeera

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