Wed, Feb 25, 2009 - Page 6 News List

MPs vow to probe UK role in Gitmo detention


Britain’s role in the secret abduction of terror suspects came under intense new scrutiny with the return to the UK of Binyam Mohamed on Monday after more than four years in Guantanamo Bay.

Senior members of parliament said they intended to pursue ministers and officials over what they knew of his ill-treatment and why Britain helped the CIA interrogate him.

In a statement released shortly after he arrived in a US Gulfstream jet at RAF Northolt in west London, Mohamed said: “For myself, the very worst moment came when I realized in Morocco that the people who were torturing me were receiving questions and materials from British intelligence.”

Once inside the terminal building Mohamed met his sister for the fist time in more than seven years and in the most emotionally charged moment of the day they both cried and hugged.

Mohamed was released after several hours of questioning by police and immigration officials.

Clive Stafford Smith, his lawyer, spoke of a “fantastic day” after the long campaign to free his client, who spent weeks on hunger strike being force-fed at Guantanamo and looked “incredibly skinny and very emaciated.”

Binyam was “extraordinarily grateful to be back in Britain,” said Stafford Smith, who said he had “zero doubt” Britain was complicit in his client’s ill-treatment.

“Britain knew he was being abused and left him,” he said, referring to his secret abduction to Morocco where Mohamed says he was tortured. The lawyer also said his client was subjected to “very serious abuse” in Guantanamo.

Stafford Smith said that while his family was not vindictive, they wanted the truth to be known. Mohamed hoped to be allowed to remain in the UK.

“What we in Britain need to do is to make up for some of the things in the past and if the British government was, as I contend, deeply involved in the torture that Binyam had to go through, the least we can do is offer him his homeland,” Stafford Smith said.

Andrew Dismore, chairman of the Westminster parliament’s joint human rights committee, said he would lead a private meeting yesterday to consider where their inquiry goes next.

Separately, Mike Gapes, chairman of the House of Commons foreign affairs committee, said: “We will be pursuing the issue with ministers,” adding that his cross-party group had been trying to discover the UK’s role in the rendition of terror suspects for years.

His committee intended to question British Home Secretary David Miliband and Foreign Office Minister Lord Malloch Brown over what he called “outstanding issues.” He said they included “rendition, what happened to people in Guantanamo Bay and black sites” — a reference to prisons in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

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