Administration proudly named its offensive into Afghanistan and Iraq, a
‘War on Terror’ therefore, by all definitions the United States is at
war, indefinitely and anyone captured during the course of this ongoing
conflict, must be a
prisoner of war, who in accordance with the Geneva Convention has
unalienable human rights.
Zumrati Juma, the mother of Feroz Abbasi from Croydon, South London, who
was caught (allegedly)
fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan, argues that her son is being
held at Guantanamo Bay in a way that “violates his fundamental rights
under international law.”
Juma has called upon the foreign and home secretaries to demand that the
US government grant her son access to a lawyer. She claimed Feroz
has been wrongly denied PoW status and that the government had “wrongly
failed” to take up his case under the Geneva Convention and customary
international law to “ensure the recognition of that status.”
changing the name of PoW’s to “enemy combatants” does not alter their
status one iota; whatever you call them, their basic rights are still
being flagrantly breached. To change the term “war crime” to “peace
initiative” would not suddenly legitimize road-side executions and give
the US an excuse to overrule accepted, civilized codes.
captives of Camp Delta were combating enemy forces in defence of their
country during a war, they are
prisoners of that war and should be treated as such but they
enjoy no protection under any national legal system and are subject to
the arbitrary judgment of the Pentagon’s secretive Military Commission.
ultimate decision on the penalty of those tried rests with the President
and acquittal does not guarantee release. Bush presided over a record
151 executions while Governor of Texas and never granted clemency.
Professions of remorse or pleas for mercy didn't sway him, believing
that “judgments about the heart and soul of an individual on death row
are best left to a higher authority.”
is the first time a ‘friendly government’ has admitted beforehand that
British subjects will not be entitled to a fair trial abroad and if
found guilty, Feroz Abbasi and others could receive the death penalty,
outlawed in our country for its barbarism. We
expect 'death chambers' in
undemocratic nations or repressive regimes, but not in the USA.
However, the UK government is equally unsympathetic to its citizens,
plunging (Muslim) terror
suspects into a legal ‘black hole’ without representation or recourse,
on evidence which can be extracted under torture at Abu Ghraib and
remain secret in the interest of National Security. Thus sounds the final
death knell of democracy in this country.
Update January 14, 2005:
I am pleased to be
reporting something positive, for a change! The British detainees at
Camp X-Ray are due to be released from US custody after a surprise
breakthrough was announced by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in the
Commons on 11th January 2005. Four days previously, I
wrote a terse e-mail to the Foreign Office and forwarded it to a
long list of MP’s including Tony Blair, who is said to have made a
The gist of my scathing
words were; “It has come to light that a ‘confession’ was extracted
from Feroz Abbasi in Guantanamo Bay with interrogation methods so
severe that he required treatment at the prison hospital. For the
United States to be torturing British subjects into admitting to
bogus accusations, without charge, is a violation of human rights
and international law.”
“Prior to his illegal
torture, Feroz denied being an ‘enemy combatant’ or member of al
Qaeda, therefore his capitulation under duress cannot be considered
valid. He is clinically depressed and attempted suicide several
times. If there is any vestige of decency or humanity left at the
Foreign Office, you must demand his extradition to Britain, to
undergo a fair trial, based on substantive evidence.”
I went on
to ask; “I am interested in what you are doing, if anything, to
secure the release of this UK citizen” putting the onus on
politicians to explain their position.
I would not be so
presumptuous as to suggest that my letter prompted the government’s
complete U-turn, which came like a bolt from the blue, but
pressurizing political representatives works, if they are shamed for
their inaction on defending civil liberties. That is their job!
The four captives, who were becoming an embarrassment to the War
Cabinet, include Feroz Abbasi, 24, from Croydon, Martin Mubanga, 30,
from Wembley, Richard Belmar, 25, from St John's Wood, and Moazzam
Begg, 36, from Birmingham. The Mayor of London, Ken Livingston said
they pose no threat to our security and he hopes the prisoners would
go on to sue the US authorities for years of detention and abuse.
“I hope one day
President Bush and those who authorised this use of low-level
torture will face prosecution themselves.” This must include
high-level members of the British government who were complicit in
their incarceration and did not object to proposals for a secret
military tribunal or even execution. There are two more UK subjects
still remaining at GITMO, but they do not have citizenship.
A further 550 ‘enemy combatants’ from
various nations are being held indefinitely at America’s Cuban
concentration camp without charge. Those who have been freed tell
tales of sexual abuse, humiliation, beatings and torture. Martin
Mubanga claims marines used him like a ‘rent-boy.’ We have seen the
Abu Ghraib [WARNING: EXTREMELY DISTURBING
PICTURES!!! - editor's note] and if this is acceptable
treatment of people caught in the ‘War on Terror’ the US are the
Britons to Confess or die.
the Iceberg of US abuses against modern concepts of justice.
'combatants' in X-Ray