Former detainee presses for closure of Guantanamo

A FORMER Guantanamo detainee is to press justice and foreign officials about EU countries accepting more former prisoners and the efforts being made to close the controversial detention camp.

Moazzam Begg, who spent two of his three years in solitary confinement at the US jail in Cuba, will call on the Government to lead the way on the issue of countries taking in released detainees from Guantanamo.

Ahead of the meeting today, the 42-year-old British citizen said: “Guantanamo is a brutal place where I witnessed at first hand the torture and degrading treatment inflicted on detainees. Ireland has already made a contribution to ending this by accepting two former detainees and this needs to be acknowledged.”

Moazzam Begg was arrested in Pakistan by CIA agents on January 31, 2002. After some time in a US detention centre at Bagram Air Base he was transferred to Guantanamo where he was kept in solitary confinement for most of his detention. He was released on 25 January 2005 without ever having been charged with an offence.

Mr Begg, accompanied by lawyers from the human rights organisation Reprieve and the US Centre for Constitutional Rights, will today meet with representatives of the Departments of Justice and Foreign Affairs.

He is expected to tell the departments seniorofficials that more pressure is needed to close the detention camp for good.

Two former Guantanamo detainees were resettled in Ireland over four months ago.

It is thought that Uzbekistan nationals Oybek Jabbarov and Shakhrukh Hamiduva were resettled in the west of Ireland and have since accessed education courses. Both are living in private accommodation under the supervision and help from the Department of Justice.

Amnesty International Ireland will also later today host a public meeting where Moazzam Begg is expected to call on EU member states to follow the Irish example and accept other former detainees for resettlement.


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