The unjust arrest of Moazzam Begg, a director at the campaign group CAGE and prominent Muslim human rights advocate, has sparked an unprecedented number of supporters calling for justice for his right to freedom.
On Saturday 1st March 2014, thousands of supporters rallied outside West Midlands Police HQ in Birmingham to show their support for Begg and campaign for justice against unjustified intimidation of communities under anti-terrorism legislation.
Begg who is a former Guantanamo Bay detainee had suffered three years of abuse and torture whilst being held by the US and was later released without charge and sent back to Britain in 2005. This echoes the treatment of yet to be released Guantanamo detainee Shaker Aamer who has still not been released despite not being charged and cleared for release by the US government.
It is unjustifiable that innocent British Muslims may be subjected to being detained or extradited and held without legitimate evidence. There are many obstacles that we need to overcome in order to expose the intolerances of governments and the many accounts of human rights violations that remain in the world today.
Powerful states continually manipulate the law and conceal their political agendas from international criticism for their own advantage, which makes it increasingly difficult for the real perpetrators to be brought to justice because governments decide to focus on innocent human rights advocates instead who are trying their best to provide aid to countries which are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance such as Syria.
Begg has never been found to have had committed a crime and therefore he is innocent. He should be allowed the freedom he deserves and be able to be reunited with his family. Begg had been remanded in custody after appearing in court in London charged. Begg has strictly denied any involvement in facilitating terror activities abroad and believes that his arrest is a politically motivated act of a long-term campaign of harassment, which has involved the recent confiscation of his passport, on the grounds that it was 'not in the public interest' for him to travel abroad.
Begg had stated in the Guardian that the removal of his passport was politically motivated,"I am certain that the only reason I am being continually harassed something that began long before any visit to Syria - is because Cage prisoners [the former name of Cage] and I are at the forefront of investigations and assertions based on hard evidence that British governments past and present have been wilfully complicit in torture."
Logically, why would a former prisoner at Guantanamo who is an international figure that is aware he is already under a close eye since he was released get involved in anything that the British government would construe as 'terrorism'? In fact it is more believable that there are injustices and politically motivated reasons to Begg's arrest.
Asim Qureshi, Research Director of CAGE said,"CAGE calls on all defenders of civil liberties and the rule of law to stand up and protest against the serious curtailment of yet another victim. The message may be unpalatable to those who wish to shroud their abuse in secrecy but that can never justify an attack on the messengers."
Qureshi further stated that, "We are disgusted that Moazzam Begg is being retraumatised with the same guilt by association accusations that resulted in his unlawful incarceration in Guantanamo Bay. We fully support our colleague and see his arrest as politically motivated and as part of a campaign to criminalise legitimate activism."