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Torturers' link to British agents

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    Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed has arrived back in the UK, claiming that his torturers were receiving questions and material from British
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 6, 2009
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      Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed has arrived back in the UK, claiming that his "torturers" were receiving questions and material from British intelligence agents.


      Binyam Mohamed arrives back in Britain after 4 years in the US terror camp - where he says he was tortured.
      By Duncan Gardham
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/centralamericaandthecaribbean/cuba/4787164/Binyam-Mohamed-back-in-UK-claiming-torturers-linked-to-British-agents-Guantanamo.html


      Former detainee Mr Mohamed alleges that he was tortured into falsely confessing to terrorist activities and claims MI5 officers were complicit in his abuse.

      In his statement, Mr Mohamed said: "I have to say, more in sadness than in anger, that many have been complicit in my own horrors over the past seven years.

      "For myself, the very worst moment came when I realised in Morocco that the people who were torturing me were receiving questions and materials from British intelligence."

      Mr Mohamed, a British resident, aged 30, had been held at Guantanamo Bay for more than four years.

      An aircraft carrying the 30-year-old landed at RAF Northolt in north west London just after 1pm on Monday.

      Concerns had been expressed about Mr Mohamed's health after he recently went on hunger strike, but he was able to walk off the aircraft without needing support.

      He was dressed in casual clothes and clutched what appeared to be a document holder as he made his way to the terminal building surrounded by officials.

      Ethiopian-born Mr Mohamed lived in London before his arrest in Pakistan in 2002.

      He was held at the controversial US military detention centre at Guantanamo Bay on Cuba from September 2004.

      The British Government requested his release, and a team of British officials went to Guantanamo Bay recently to check that he was well enough to travel back to the UK.

      Foreign Secretary David Miliband said he was pleased the former detainee had returned to the UK.

      He said: "This is the direct result of our request for his release and return, and follows intensive negotiations with the US government.

      "Mr Mohamed was accompanied by Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials, officers of the Metropolitan Police and the doctor who visited him at Guantanamo Bay last week.

      "We have been in touch with Mr Mohamed's family and legal representatives to inform them of his return.

      "The UK Government requested the release and return of all former legal UK residents detained at Guantanamo Bay in August 2007.

      "In reaching this decision we have paid full consideration to the need to maintain national security and the Government's overriding responsibilities in this regard."

      Mr Mohamed will spend the next few days with his family and legal team.

      In his statement, he said: "I hope you will understand that, after everything I have been through, I am neither physically nor mentally capable of facing the media on the moment of my arrival back to Britain.

      "I have been through an experience that I never thought to encounter in my darkest nightmares.

      "Before this ordeal, torture was an abstract word to me. I could never have imagined that I would be its victim.

      "It is still difficult for me to believe that I was abducted, hauled from one country to the next, and tortured in medieval ways - all orchestrated by the United States government.

      "While I want to recover, and put it all as far in the past as I can, I also know I have an obligation to the people who still remain in those torture chambers.

      "My own despair was greatest when I thought that everyone had abandoned me. I have a duty to make sure that nobody else is forgotten."

      Speaking about his period of torture in Morocco, Mr Mohamed said: "I have met with British intelligence in Pakistan. I had been open with them. Yet the very people who I had hoped would come to my rescue, I later realised, had allied themselves with my abusers."

      He went on: "I am not asking for vengeance, only that the truth should be made known so that nobody in the future should have to endure what I have endured."

      Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, called for an independent inquiry into Britain's role in secret detention and rendition programmes.

      "We're pleased that we have Binyam back today but it has taken the British Government far too long to be arguing for these men," she said.

      Mr Mohamed's UK lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, said he was "absolutely" convinced of the former detainee's innocence.

      "If anyone wants to put him on trial, in the immortal words of George Bush, bring them on," he said.

      Gordon Brown declined to say whether Mr Mohamed will face any restrictions on his liberty when he returns to the UK.

      Speaking in Southampton, where he is attending a Cabinet "awayday", the Prime Minister said: "What I can say is that at all times the security of the country will be protected.

      "Of course, we have got to look at the details of the arrangements, but at all times the security of the British people comes first."

      He added: "My first concern is the security of people in this country and we will do everything in our power to protect the security of people in our country and the Home Secretary will take whatever action is necessary."

      Mr Mohamed was detained under Port and Border Controls, part of the Terrorism Act 2000, when he arrived in the UK, Scotland Yard said.

      A spokesman said he was not arrested.

      He added: "The man has been monitored by a forensic medical examiner during the flight to ensure that he is fit to be detained by police.

      "He will have access to a solicitor, as is normal practice.

      "Police are conducting investigations into his case. Their inquiries are being carried out, as they must be, strictly in accordance with UK law."

      ===

      `I was victim of medieval torture,' says freed Guantanamo detainee


      Return of British resident after seven years fuels demands for Government to clarify role of MI5 agents


      By Robert Verkaik, Law Editor
      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/8216i-was-victim-of-medieval-torture8217-says-freed-guantanamo-detainee-1630317.html


      Binyam Mohamed, 30, a British resident who has been held at Guantanamo Bay formore than four years, steps from a plane at RAF Northolt, west London

      The seven-year ordeal of a British resident who claims he was brutally tortured before being sent to Guantanamo Bay was brought to an end last night during an emotional reunion with his family.

      Binyam Mohamed's sister, Zuhra Mohamed, said she was "overcome with joy" as she watched her brother shuffle down the steps of the RAF transport plane which had carried him from the notorious US detention camp in Cuba to Northolt airfield, west London.

      She said: "When I saw him he looked like he is OK, but he will plainly not be the man I remember all those years ago." Almost as soon as Mr Mohamed had taken his first steps on British soil, the former computer and engineering student made it clear that he had unfinished business with both the US and UK governments. In a carefully worded statement he said he intended to hold to account those he blamed for his alleged rendition, torture and unlawful imprisonment: "I am not asking for vengeance; only that the truth should be made known so that nobody in the future should have to endure what I have endured."


      * Binyam Mohamed: `I wish I could say that it is all over, but it is not'

      Last night Mr Mohamed's release from US custody reignited calls for the British Government to publish secret documents that would shine further light on the involvement of MI5 agents in his interrogation and alleged torture.

      William Hague, the shadow Foreign Secretary, and the Liberal Democrats' foreign affairs spokesman, Ed Davey, joined with human rights groups in calling for the Government to come clean about British complicity in Mr Mohamed's alleged torture. Mr Mohamed, wearing a cream pullover, navy-blue trousers, white trainers and a white cap pulled over the top of his head, was accompanied by Metropolitan Police officers as he shuffled down the steps of the military aircraft steps. Unaided, he was taken to an airport interview room and detained under Port and Border Controls, part of the Terrorism Act 2000.

      After further questioning by UK Border Agency officials, who will now consider renewing his British residency status which expired in 2004, he was released without charge.

      Family and friends were then granted access to Mr Mohamed, who will spend some time away from the media glare. The 30-year-old Ethiopian national, who came to Britain in 1994, was held in Karachi in 2002 by American and Pakistani secret agents before being allegedly sent to Morocco, where he says he was tortured. He is the first of 250 Guantanamo detainees to be transferred under a review ordered by President Barack Obama. Ms Mohamed, 38, who had flown from America to be reunited with her brother after more than 10 years apart, described last night the family's own ordeal in trying to find out what had happened to him.

      Ms Mohamed said in an interview with The Independent that she had been repeatedly told by the US and Pakistani governments that they had no information relating to her brother – whom she had spent three years living with in Ethiopia and then two more years in America.

      After he disappeared in 2002, Ms Mohamed and her other brother, Benhur, went to the FBI to ask for help to find him.

      She remembers: "They first said, `It looks like he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.' But then they later denied knowing anything about him at all and suggested we contact the Pakistani government. When I spoke to the Pakistani embassy, they said they didn't know where he was either. It was only when the Red Cross contacted us in 2004 that we were aware that Binyam had been taken to Guantanamo Bay. It is now clear that all the time they [the US government] were involved in his interrogation."

      Ms Mohamed described both countries' attitudes as "shameful". Behur Mohamed, who came to west London in search of his brother after his disappearance, said yesterday: "It was very disheartening to know that the British had something to do with his suffering."

      Mr Hague said it was "high time the UK Government asked the new US administration for permission" to release information relating to Mr Mohamed's case which was withheld by the High Court earlier this month.

      Medical treatment: Matters of the mind

      *Binyam Mohamed is expected to be referred to the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, in London, which has helped other Guantanamo detainees deal with the psychological effects of their experiences. Alex Sklan, a clinician who has worked with torture survivors at the foundation for more than 10 years, says it is essential that Mr Mohamed is assessed as soon as possible. "Once out of the media spotlight, Mr Mohamed will need help in addressing the serious long-term consequences of his ordeal," says Mr Sklan. "Long after they are released, survivors of torture can suffer with nightmares related to their ordeal, intrusive thoughts about their torture, outbursts of anger and intense feelings of hopelessness."

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