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Guantánamo Detainee Asks British PM for Help

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June 3, 2008

The BBC reported last week that Binyam Mohamed, a British resident and one of the hundreds of men detained indefinitely at Guantanamo, has written a letter to the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, asking for his assistance. Mohamed, with help from his attorneys from the U.K. legal nonprofit Reprieve, are asking Brown to intervene on his behalf and pressure the U.S. to send Mohamed back to his home in England.

In a separate action, Mohamed’s Reprieve attorneys are suing the British government for evidence that Mohamed was rendered by the CIA to Morocco in 2002.

After Mohamed was apprehended by agents of the Pakistani government,

British agents met with Mr Mohamed when he was arrested in Pakistan, interviewed him for three hours, and apparently told the US that he was a “nobody” (a janitor from Kensington) as well as telling Mr Mohamed that he was going to be rendered by the US to a foreign country. When Mr Mohamed was duly sent to Morocco, the UK provided background information on him to the US that was used to manipulate him as part of his torture.

In Morocco, Mohamed was held and tortured at the hands of agents of the Moroccan intelligence services for 18 months. The CIA rendered him to Morocco knowing that the use of torture in that country is routine. The CIA later transferred Mohamed to its own secret prison in Afghanistan, commonly known as the “Prison of Darkness,” where he was held and tortured for several more months before his eventual transfer to Guantanamo in September 2004.

The ACLU has filed a further lawsuit on Mohamed’s behalf against Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc. The suit charges that Jeppesen, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Boeing Aerospace company, assisted the CIA in transporting Mohamed to detention and torture in both Morocco and Afghanistan by providing essential flight and logistical support services to the aircraft and crew used by the CIA in the unlawful extraordinary rendition. Our legal complaint details some of the unspeakable acts of torture that Mohamed endured while held captive in Morocco:

… his interrogators routinely beat him, sometimes to the point of losing consciousness, and he suffered multiple broken bones. During one incident, Mohamed was cut 20 to 30 times on his genitals. On another occasion, a hot stinging liquid was poured into open wounds on his penis as he was being cut. He was frequently threatened with rape, electrocution and death.

In this video, ACLU attorney Steven Watt explains the circumstances of Mohamed’s kidnapping in Pakistan and subsequent rendition to Morocco and Afghanistan.

In August 2007, the U.K. formally requested that the U.S. release Mohamed and four other Britons being held in Guantanamo. Although four of the men were eventually returned home, this last Friday, Mohamed was charged with terrorism by the U.S. Military Commission. If found guilty, Mohamed faces the death penalty. Mohamed denies all charges against him.

You can learn more about our lawsuits against the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program and Jeppesen Dataplan, at www.aclu.org/rendition.