The British resident at the center of a legal battle over alleged torture could leave Guantanamo Bay insane or in a coffin if the case continues to be dragged out, his lawyer said on Monday.
Yvonne Bradley, Binyam Mohamed’s lawyer, said: “It’s amazing he has lasted this long.”
Bradley flew to London yesterday to impress on members of parliament and the UK government the urgency of the case of one of the last British residents detained in what she called the “hell hole” of Guantanamo Bay.
“I do not want to act after the fact, including death. If this keeps getting dragged out, he will leave Guantanamo Bay insane or in a coffin,” Bradley said.
She last saw Mohamed last month just after the authorities started to force-feed him. She knew he had been on hunger strike but she had not been prepared for what she saw.
“His arms were so thin I described them as twigs,” she said.
His weight had dropped to about 55kg.
“He is very poor, mentally, physically and emotionally,” she said.
His cell was smeared with his own feces for three weeks at the end of 2007. She said she had begged the authorities to stop treating Mohamed’s behavior as a disciplinary matter and tried to persuade them there were what she called “mental health aspects” involved.
Mohamed was the subject last week of an unprecedented high court ruling accusing British Foreign Secretary David Miliband of hiding behind claims of a threat to national security to suppress evidence of torture.
Bradley, an experienced US defense department attorney, has seen evidence given to her by the US and passed it to the Foreign Office. The US warned that if the evidence was released, it would stop sharing intelligence with Britain, thus causing damage to the UK’s national security.
Bradley said she had no doubts Mohamed had been tortured. The case “has nothing to do with national security whatsoever,” she said, adding that it was probably to do with embarrassment.
Meanwhile, the lawyers for a young Canadian Guantanamo Bay detainee were set to release a plan today detailing how he should be brought home, a move designed to put pressure on Canada and US President Barack Obama a week before Obama visits Canada.
Omar Khadr, a Toronto native, faces charges that include supporting terrorism and murder for allegedly killing US Army Sergeant 1st Class Christopher Speer of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with a grenade during a 2002 battle in Afghanistan when he was 15.
His lawyers, Dennis Edney and Nathan Whitling, want him repatriated to Canada, especially now that Obama has ordered Guantanamo shut down within a year.
“President Barack Obama’s visit to Ottawa [on] Feb. 19 offers a clear chance for Canada to secure the repatriation of Guantanamo prisoner Omar Khadr, the Canadian child soldier captured and rigorously imprisoned since age 15,” Edney said in a statement.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has not asked for Khadr’s return, but has come under pressure to bring him back to Canada. Khadr is the only westerner left at Guantanamo and one of the youngest people ever charged with war crimes.