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Outrage at Arrest of Former Guantanamo Bay Detainee

MLA Outraged at Arrest of Former Guantanamo Bay Detainee

Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News, 2014-02-27

The Muslim Lawyers Association (MLA) has released a statement declaring its outrage at the arrest of Moazzam Begg a former Guantanamo Bay detainee and Outreach Director of the London-based organization CAGE by British authorities.

It has been reported that Begg was arrested on “terrorism related charges” on Tuesday (25th February) linked to his recent visit to Syria.

In the statement, The MLA condemned the arrest and furthermore condemed the paradigm, and the political and ideological agenda of the powers that be, that resulted in the promulgation of the “anti-terror” laws of the United Kingdom.

“These laws are oppressive. They are designed to terrorise Muslims who understand their religion holistically and seek to express their Islam socially, politically and economically,” the statement said.

“The laws seek to distinguish between “good” Muslims and “bad” Muslims based on whether a Muslim is “secular” enough to be tolerated. They prevent freedom of religion and conscience and criminalize the actions of those wanting to rid the world from oppression. They are fundamentally at odds with the divine laws to which Muslims subscribe,” it added.

Begg who toured South Africa in December 2013, is internationally recognized and acclaimed for speaking out against detention without trial, for advocating the God given right of due process and for campaigning for the rights of prisoners.

His advocacy on behalf of the Guantanamo Bay and other “war of terror” detainees is globally recognized and has resulted in various governments accepting and giving refuge to ex- prisoners who could not be returned to their countries of origin.

Originally from Birmingham, Begg has made it his life’s work to advocate for the rights of those victims of the ‘war of terror’ who are tortured and incarcerated without being charged.

He has never been a threat to the British government even after they collaborated with the US to maintain his detention without trial for 3 years.

“This is totally unacceptable and shocking. This is a man who’s got no rank or ill-feeling in his heart, and the only reason they’re doing this to him is to silence him. I can’t see no other reason that they are doing this to brother Muazzam,” Feroze Boda from MLA told Radio Islam.

“The biggest threat to Britain is Britain itself. And what I mean by this is its foreign policy and track record of killing, detaining, renditioning, torturing, disrespecting and spying on Muslims and curbing their basic civil liberties that Allah has given to them all in the name of war on terror,” added Boda.

CAGE has called on all defenders of civil liberties and the rule of law to stand up and protest against the serious curtailment of yet another victim.

‘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,” said Asim Qureshi, Research Director of CAGE.

“We fully support our colleague and see his arrest as politically motivated and as part of a campaign to criminalise legitimate activism,” he added.

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