The greatest injustice I fear is that Binyam Mohamed is still being held at Guantánamo only to suppress evidence of his torture
- guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 11 February 2009 13.57 GMT
I am a lawyer and a soldier, and I act for Binyam Mohamed, who is currently on hunger strike in Guantánamo Bay. I came to England to ask everyone to work as hard as possible to get Binyam home. The new administration in the US has said that it wants to close Guantánamo. The UK government says that it has been asking for Binyam’s return since August 2007. Despite that, and despite England being the US’s closest ally, Binyam is still in a cell in Guantánamo Bay. I believe that now is the time to press the new administration.
Guards told Binyam that he was going home in December, and so he is on hunger strike (together with 50 or so other prisoners). This means that he is tube-fed while strapped to a chair, twice a day. Binyam has lost so much weight that he speaks of the pain he suffers from being strapped to the chair for hours each day – he speaks of feeling his bones against the chair. I am really worried that if Binyam does not come home soon, he will leave Guantánamo Bay in a coffin.
The Joint Task Force, which runs Guantánamo Bay, gives me no information about Binyam. When I called to enquire about his condition, they said first, that they would look into it and then that they would tell me nothing and that I should make a Freedom of Information request, which would have taken months to process. Therefore, whenever I want information about Binyam, I have to make the 5-hour trip to Guantánamo. Each time, he asks why he is still there.
It is worth bearing in mind that all charges against Binyam have been dropped and that Binyam’s chief prosecutor resigned, citing the unfairness of the system.
I profoundly hope that he is not being kept in Guantánamo to avoid information surrounding his rendition and torture coming out. Clive Stafford Smith and I are testifying at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition in Portcullis House, Westminster today, which is open to members of the public. I understand that a number of intelligence agents and politicians will also speak in an attempt to get Binyam home. I am meeting with David Miliband , this Thursday, and I hope that he will assure me that Binyam is coming home.