British arrest ex-Guantánamo detainee over Syria

 

Associated Press

A former Guantánamo Bay detainee who is a well-known advocate for the rights of terrorism suspects was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of Syria-related terrorism offenses, British police said.

West Midlands Police said Moazzam Begg was one of four people detained in the Birmingham area of central England.

Police said Begg, 45, is suspected of attending a terrorist training camp and facilitating terrorism overseas.

He was arrested along with a 44-year-old woman, her 20-year-old son, and a 36-year-old man — all suspected of facilitating terrorism overseas. Their names were not released.

Police in Britain do not usually name suspects until they are charged. The force said it was identifying Begg to the media “as a result of the anticipated high public interest.”

The four suspects were being questioned at a Birmingham police station and their homes searched.

Begg was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and sent to the U.S. prison camp in Cuba.

He was released from Guantánamo in 2005 and became a director of the advocacy group Cage, formerly known as CagePrisoners.com.

He is a well-known figure who appears frequently in British media. On his Twitter account he identifies himself as “Director of Outreach for Cageprisoners advocating for the rights of those held unjustly in the War of Terror.”

Cage called Begg’s arrest a government attempt “to ensure that any travel to Syria is deemed suspicious” and to criminalize legitimate activism.

British officials say hundreds of Britons have traveled to Syria to join the battle against the forces of President Bashar Assad. Authorities fear they could present a risk when they return home after fighting with al-Qaida-affiliated groups.

British police have stepped up arrests over suspected Syria-related terrorism.

Begg has said that authorities revoked his British passport last year, even though his trips to Syria in 2012 were approved by Britain’s domestic intelligence service.

At Guantánamo, a Pentagon spokesman, Army Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale, said Defense Department officials were “aware of the arrest” and would discuss it “with the appropriate authorities.”

The Miami Herald’s Carol Rosenberg contributed to this report from Guantánamo.

Read more Guantánamo stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
Accused USS Cole bomber Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, a Saudi, shown at left in a photo before his capture by the CIA in 2002 and by sketch artist Janet Hamlin during a 2011 arraignment at Guántanamo.

    Guantanamo

    Court: Poland violated human rights in CIA case

    Europe's top human rights court ruled Thursday that Poland violated the rights of two terror suspects by allowing the CIA to secretly imprison them on Polish soil from 2002-2003 and facilitating the conditions under which they were subject to torture.

  •  
Algerian Djamel Ameziane, a 42-year-old ethnic Berber, has been approved for release but wants to go to Canada, or another country, rather than the nation he fled in 1992. His lawyers have chosen Canada because he lived there for five years, and filed a failed application for political asylum. From Canada he went to Afghanistan, where he was captured in the U.S. invasion.

    IN THE COURTS

    Ex-Guantánamo detainee can’t get his money back

    Federal judge concludes a former Guantánamo detainee may no longer be a threat, but his money is.

  •  
The Kremlin.

    Russia bans congressman, 12 other Americans

    Russia has placed a U.S. lawmaker and 12 other people connected with the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq on its list of those banned from entering the country.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category