Skip to comments.Land of the Free (EUROTRASH ALERT)
Posted on 07/29/2002 4:48:55 AM PDT by ejdrapes
LAND OF THE FREE?
By Gary Jones And Jon Clements
AL-QAEDA suspects left locked up in the hell of Guantanamo Bay without legal help make a mockery of America's claim to be the land of the free. Seven Brits are among 564 men held as "unlawful combatants" at America's notorious Camp X-Ray in Cuba in the wake of the Afghan campaign.
Feroz Abbasi, the longest serving, has been caged for 200 days. But no charges or evidence have been brought against the suspects who US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld branded the "hardest of the hardcore".
Human rights groups and religious leaders around the world have expressed revulsion at the wire cages in which the men are detained. Legal experts have also criticised President Bush for claiming Guantanamo Bay is outside US, Cuban or international law.
But despite the failure to mount a single prosecution the president plans to increase the number of people held without trial, ordering 200 more cells to be built at Camp X-Ray's replacement Camp Delta.
Amnesty International said last night: "The more cells Mr Bush adds to Guantanamo Bay the more the US reputation as a defender of international justice will suffer."
Shockingly, the British Government has washed its hands of any responsibility for the rights of its citizens. Defence Minister Geoff Hoon said there were "no doubts" about the legality of the suspects' indefinite imprisonment in Cuba. Foreign Office minister Peter Bradshaw branded the inmates "some of the most dangerous men in the world".
Leading civil liberties lawyer Geoffrey Bindman said: "The continued detention of these men without charge or trial and without access to lawyers remains an affront to the values which underpin Anglo-American jurisprudence."
"However loyal our government may feel it must be to our US ally, the time has come for it to demand the immediate release of our fellow citizens." Abbasi's mother Zumrati Juma has now launched a legal attempt to force ministers to act.
Earlier this month, the Appeal Court ruled that a Judicial Review should be held of the Government's decision not to intervene. Speaking at her home outside Croydon, Mrs Juma said: "No one cares about what's happened to Feroz. He's been forgotten and left to rot.
"I have no faith in the system because it isn't helping my son. I feel he has been abandoned to his fate. "I'm very unhappy the British Government has so far seen fit to do nothing. My son has rights like all of us but they have been denied to him."
Riasoth Ahmed, 60, the father of fellow British detainee Ruhal Ahmed, 20, added: "I don't have any idea how my boy is being treated and what the Americans are doing to him. It's breaking my heart.
"The Government is not doing nearly enough to help him. Tony Blair is too frightened to upset his US friends." Abbasi, 22, was captured by US forces in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, last December. General Michael Lehnert, in charge of the security operation, said of the Guantanamo suspects: "These represent the worst elements of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. We asked for the bad guys first."
Since then, Abbasi has been held without access to a lawyer and without being told what charges, if any, are to be levelled. MI5 officers have seen him three times when they quizzed him about his links to Taliban suspects.
Mrs Juma said: "I understand Feroz said he did not want to speak without a lawyer. The Foreign Office told me they asked the camp commander if my son could be represented, and he refused.
"I'm disturbed the request was only made to the commander and the British Government made no request to secure my son's rights before sending MI5."
Abbasi's case has been taken up by campaigning solicitor Louise Christian, who has demanded that the Government show more interest in the seven Britons.
Ms Christian said: "The obligation of the Government to behave towards its citizens in a way that respects their fundamental human rights is not a duty which exists just when they are on British soil."
She hopes judges will rule the Government has a legal duty to protect Abbasi's interests. She added: "I fully expect the other detainees to be represented in this case when it gets to court.
"Guantanamo Bay was given to the Americans on a lease. But in reality it is a no-man's-land for human rights where there is no jurisdiction. Tony Blair has insisted that the treatment of British prisoners at Camp X-Ray is a matter for the Americans alone.
In April, a High Court Judge ruled that the UK courts did not have the jurisdiction to hear a case on their behalf.
But Master of the Rolls Lord Phillips overturned that decision last month, saying Abbasi's lawyers had the right to argue his case before a British court.
Abbasi's barrister, Nicholas Blake, said the Government had failed to provide the suspect with a lawyer or to make representations to the Americans about the conditions of his detention.
Speaking of Abbasi's time in Afghanistan. he said: "He may have expressed sympathy in some identified way on behalf of the then lawful Taliban government."
Abbasi is said to be physically well at Camp X-Ray. His mother said: "I can only hope, though quite frankly I don't have much of that. I feel I'm fighting a losing battle.
"I'm disillusioned with the whole process and don't think I'm going to get anywhere. People have asked me to speak out. But what's the point in talking when no one wants to listen.?"
The FBI investigation stems from the interrogation of Feroz Abbasi, from Croydon, south London, who was captured in Afghanistan while fighting for the Taliban and is being held in Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Abbasi, 23, a former computer studies student, went to fight in Afghanistan after worshipping at Finsbury Park mosque, where Hamza delivers his firebrand sermons.
He is understood to have told the FBI that he was escorted to an al-Qa'eda camp in Afghanistan by James Ujaama, a black Muslim activist from Seattle who was living in London and also praying at Finsbury Park.
A. Declare war on the world's superpower
B. Kill thousands of innocent men, women and children
C. Don't know when you have been sucked into an evil cult
Clue to Mirror: Camp X-ray is a prison, nobody claims it's "the Land of the Free".
Hey Ahmed, tell it to Spann's wife, or the thousands killed directly or indirectly through your son's acts.
He is cleaner, healthier and a damn site more comfortable in Cuba than he was in that rathole in Afghanistan. Were you shedding a tear then?
You mean "two in the turban?" LOL!!!
AL-QAEDA suspects left locked up in the hell of Guantanamo Bay without legal help make a mockery of America's claim to be the land of the free. Seven Brits are among 564 men held as "unlawful combatants" at America's notorious Camp X-Ray in Cuba in the wake of the Afghan campaign.If this clymer wants to see "hell", try one of the other prisons on that particular island. The detainees in Guatanamo eat better and probably have more privileges than 99.99% percent of the other people on the island of Cuba.
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