Thursday, January 27, 2005

BBC: Freed Guantanamo four 'a threat'

The four men who have been released by UK police a day after returning from Guantanamo Bay still pose a security risk, US defence officials have said.
Martin Mubanga, Feroz Abbasi, Richard Belmar and Moazzam Begg were reunited with their families on Wednesday night.

The men, from Birmingham and London, were freed without charge but the US says the UK has agreed to monitor them.

Azmat Begg, father of Moazzam, said his son appeared to be in "reasonably good" condition when they met.

Government promise

Washington had claimed all four were "enemy combatants" who trained at camps run by al-Qaeda.

The Pentagon says they were returned to Britain after the UK government promised they would not be a threat to the national security of the US or any of its allies.

After the men were reunited with their families on Wednesday, a US defence official said it had confidence in the UK government's ability to deal with the four men.

But the official added: "We continue to believe that these individuals pose a significant threat.

I know Moazzam is a nice gentleman. He is always ready to help others when he gets a chance
Azmat Begg, father of Moazzam Begg

"British authorities have assured us that they will take the necessary steps to address the threat posed by these individuals.

"I believe the UK did not have the information they needed to charge these individuals."

Home Secretary Charles Clarke said the UK had listened to US concerns about the alleged threat posed by the four Britons.

Britain had negotiated a security "package" with the US and every practical step was being taken to maintain national security within the law, he told BBC News.

But under the new proposals for dealing with terrorism suspects, which he announced on Wednesday, the four men could have been placed under house arrest, he added.

Human rights groups have welcomed the men's release.

Amnesty International spokesman Neil Durkin said the four should not have been detained "a minute longer than necessary".

Azmat Begg declared himself "very, very pleased and glad" that his son was back in Britain.

He told BBC News he had spent three hours talking to his son before leaving him with his wife Sally and four children, one of who was born while he was in custody.
Mr Begg said Moazzam's treatment over the past three years must have "an effect" but said: "I didn't notice anything like that and it looks as though he is a very strong man".

Moazzam's mother, Gul, said she had spoken to him on Wednesday night.

She said: "I just said 'hello' and 'how are you'. He said 'I'm OK.' It's just fantastic," she said.

Louise Christian, the lawyer representing Feroz Abbasi and Martin Mubanga, said she was concerned about Mr Abbasi's condition.

She said: "He has an air of unreality about him. He doesn't know where he is."

Mr Abbasi, 24, Mr Belmar, 25, Mr Mubanga, 32, all from London, and Mr Begg, 36, from Birmingham, returned to the UK on Tuesday evening in an RAF plane.

The first group of British detainees, who were released from Guantanamo Bay 10 months ago, are already pursuing a case against the US authorities, claiming they were treated unlawfully.

Their US lawyer, Eric Lewis, says reports from both the International Committee of the Red Cross and the FBI confirm torture was being carried out at Guantanamo Bay.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/01/27 11:35:11 GMT

Who exactly were and why did the office that supplied the BBC with information that would predjudice a British case, supply the info>

What if it was the same source as that which supplied the name of the CIA spy that the White House saught to discredit.

Were the released detainees also supplied with this information?

My biggest gripe was with the BBC news media who had no qualms about accepting it in the first place and then releaseing its contents on the air.

Surely they aught to have known a case against people like Tony Blair and minister(s) involved as well as members of UK forces who were implicated by previous detainees, might be muddied?
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