Binyam Mohamed: Release and arrival to UK welcomed- inquiry urged
Responding to the arrival at RAF Northolt of Binyam Mohamed upon his release today from Guantánamo Bay, Amnesty International welcomed his return but called for an independent inquiry into allegations that the UK colluded in his secret detention and torture.
The organisation also called on the UK authorities to make representations for the release or fair trial of other Guantánamo prisoners with links to the UK.
Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:
“It’s a huge relief that Binyam Mohamed is finally back in the UK - his release hasn’t come a moment too soon.
“It’s nothing short of a disgrace that Binyam was held without trial for nearly years, having to resort to a hunger strike to raise awareness of his plight.
“The immediate focus should now be on providing medical and other support for Binyam on his return to the UK, but we also need a proper independent inquiry into Binyam’s case and allegations of a cover-up over torture, as well as into the wider practice of rendition and secret detention.
“The UK government should also now press for the release of Shaker Aamer and Ahmed Belbacha - two other men with longstanding links to the UK - and it should assist moves to close the camp by offering ‘humanitarian protection’ to vulnerable prisoners who need a place to go to.”
Amnesty International supporters have long campaigned for Binyam Mohamed and other prisoners at Guantánamo, including by sending hundreds of “greetings cards” to him and other prisoners.
However, Binyam’s US military lawyer Yvonne Bradley recently confirmed that he has had no correspondence delivered to his cell for nearly a year, with camp guards specifically denying him what they refer to as his “fan mail”. Binyam’s lawyer has described this manipulation of Binyam’s emotions as just one example of a battery of “psychological abuse” by guards in his case.
Some 240 prisoners are still held at the prison camp, with an estimated 50 currently on hunger strike - many being force-fed. Some 60 men are known to be at risk of torture or persecution if returned to their home countries, and while the US may permit some of the men to be admitted to the US mainland the remaining detainees are likely to need “humanitarian protection” in other countries upon release.
Note to editors
A new interview of Yvonne Bradley speaking about Binyam Mohamed’s case can be watched and downloaded from: www.amnesty.org.uk