Tory MP urges Gitmo release for "Al Qaeda recruiter"

Conservative MP Jane Ellison is to host an event this evening at the House of Commons as part of the campaign to ‘Save Shaker Aamer’

by The Commentator on 29 October 2012 14:13


A Conservative Member of the British Parliament is tonight to host an event set up to assist in the campaign to free a Guantanamo detainee who was implicated in terrorism by the very organisation that now seeks to have him released.

Originally from Saudi Arabia, Shaker Aamer is a British resident and has been a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay since early 2002, following his capture in Afghanistan.

Aamer is the last British resident to be held by the U.S. at Gitmo. He allegedly commanded a unit of al-Qaeda fighters in the Tora Bora Mountains of Afghanistan in 2001 and was Osama Bin Laden’s “special interpreter”, a Wikileaks disclosure found.

It is also suggested that Aamer and his family had significant ties to senior level extremists and received a monthly stipend from Bin Laden.

The event, ‘A Decade of Injustice: Why is Shaker Aamer still in Guantanamo?’ will screen a video on Aamer’s decade-long imprisonment and host a panel discussion and a Q&A on how ‘we can all work for Shaker Aamer’s release and return to the UK’.

Tory MP Jane Ellison is said to be co-hosting the event alongside the Cageprisoners organisation, headed by Moazzam Begg. Also in attendance will be the Muslim-convert and former Express journalist Yvonne Ridley, as well as Caroline Lucas MP.

Ridley is a former journalist for the Sunday Express and is possibly most famous for being captured by the Taliban just before the U.S. invasion in 2001. In 2010, Ridley told a reporter on camera that she and Galloway had given money to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, a claim Galloway later denied.

Cageprisoners Ltd, which is co-hosting the event, describes itself as a 'human rights organisation' set up during the month of Ramadan in 2003 as a campaign to ‘raise awareness of the plight of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and other detainees as held by the War on Terror’.

Bangladeshi writer and human rights activist, Gita Sahgal openly criticised the work of cageprisoners and its director, Moazzam Begg as “Britain’s most famous supporter of the Taliban”. Sahgal was forced to leave her job at Amnesty International UK because of the NGO’s support for Cageprisoners and Begg.

Moazzam Begg is one of nine British citizens (including Aamer) who were held at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay. According to reports, Begg was picked up by the CIA in 2002, he had trained with Al-Qaeda and was preparing for attacks Americans and fled Afghanistan after the attacks on 9/11. Following his release in 2005 along with three other Britons, Pentagon officials still considered the men to be “significant threats”.

Counter-terrorism expert at the Henry Jackson Society Robin Simcox wrote in January: "Take Moazzam Begg, a former detainee who was released in 2005 and is now a vocal anti-Guantanamo campaigner. In Guantanamo, Mr. Begg signed a confession that admitted that he was a jihadist recruiter, that he attended three al Qaeda terrorist-training camps in Afghanistan, and that he was armed and prepared to fight for the Taliban and al Qaeda against the U.S. He has since said this was coerced, which four U.S. government inquiries have rejected."

A devastating and recent revelation to Begg's campaign to release Shaker Aamer is that a man code-named "UK558" described Mr. Aamer as a "recruiter" for al Qaeda.

He outlined how Mr. Aamer and he traveled to meet members of a European al Qaeda cell in 2000, and how Mr. Aamer fought in Bosnia under the leadership of Abu Zubayr al-Haili, a senior al-Qaeda figure. "UK558" talked of the training in AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades Mr. Aamer received. "UK558" is the Defense Department memorandum's code-name for none other than Moazzam Begg.

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