• Binyam Mohamed is a 29 year old Ethiopian who came to the UK in 1994 as an asylum seeker. He lived in Notting Hill, West London, for seven years.
• In June 2001, he travelled to Afghanistan to see whether it was a “good Islamic country or not”. After 9/11, he left for Pakistan. In April 2002, he tried to return to the UK but was arrested at the airport. For the next three months, he was imprisoned by the Pakistani authorities.
• In July 2002, he was transferred to American custody. The CIA flew him to Morocco where he was held for 18 months, during which time he was subject to torture and gross human rights violations. He eventually confessed to being involved in the “dirty bomb” plot targeted at the US with Jose Padilla.
• In January 2004, he was rendered to Afghanistan where he was held in Kabul’s notorious “Dark Prison” for five months where he endured further torture. The Americans then took him to Bagram and then Guantánamo Bay in September 2004 where he has been held ever since.
• In November 2005, he was charged with conspiring to plot terror attacks against the US; the evidence for this was procured through torture in Morocco. He had a preliminary hearing in June 2006 but his trial was halted when, later in 2006, the US Supreme Court ruled that the trials were illegal.
• In August 2007, the British government made representations with the American government to have five British residents, including Binyam Mohamed, returned to the UK. The British government does not believe he poses a threat.
• In May 2008, charges were brought against Binyam and he currently faces the prospect of a military tribunal and, if convicted, the death penalty. He is unlikely to receive a fair trial at Guantánamo Bay.
• In recent months, Binyam Mohamed’s physical and mental health has deteriorated considerably, to the extent that he has taken to smearing the walls of his cell with his own faeces. He is suffering from severe depression.
Binyam Mohamed has been held in Guantánamo Bay for three and a half years and has been subjected to nearly six years of abuse. He is currently facing a military tribunal at Guantánamo Bay and the death penalty if convicted. He has no hope of receiving a fair trial at Guantánamo according to his lawyers.
Write to the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the Foreign Secretary David Miliband and your own MP:
• Tell them that Binyam Mohamed’s case is of the utmost urgency. He is close to a complete breakdown and his behaviour, including smearing his excrement on the walls of his cell, demonstrates severe depression. The British government must act on humanitarian grounds to have Binyam released immediately.
• The UK government must release information that it has in its possession that show that Binyam was a victim of extraordinary rendition and could lead to his release.
• The British government must act at the highest level to ensure that Binyam is released and does not face a military tribunal. Allowing Binyam to face a military trial would be an effective endorsement of the death penalty and would undermine the rule of law.
Dear Mr Brown/Miliband/Your own MP
I am writing to you concerning Binyam Mohamed, the London man who is being held at Guantánamo Bay and faces terrorism charges. The suffering this man has endured in six years of illegal detention in Morocco, Afghanistan and Guantánamo is shocking. Anyone with knowledge of even the sketchiest details of his treatment, and having any concern for justice and the rule of law, could feel nothing but revulsion.
News of his being charged after six years, with conspiring to commit terrorism offences in the US, to be tried by military tribunal, and using evidence obtained under extreme, prolonged torture, is of grave concern. In these circumstances, he cannot receive a fair trial.
Furthermore, I am concerned that if convicted Binyam faces the death penalty. By failing to challenge the use of military tribunals, which undermine the rule of law and by standing by while Binyam faces such a trial, the UK would be condoning the death penalty, which we do not allow here.
It is also of deep concern that the UK Government is not willing to defend itself against allegations that it appears to have been complicit in Binyam’s rendition and ill treatment, or to comply with his lawyers’ request for the release of documents which could aid his case.
I call on the Government to do everything in its power to assist this man in obtaining his full human rights, and ultimately his freedom.
Gordon Brown (Prime Minister)
Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown, MP
House of Commons
David Miliband (Foreign Secretary)
Rt. Hon. David Miliband MP
Foreign and Commonwealth Office,
King Charles St ,
London SW1A 2AH
Also write to your MP (contact details at www.theyworkforyou.com) and ask them to contact and bring pressure to bear on the Foreign Secretary concerning Binyam Mohamed on your behalf.
London Guantánamo Campaign
3 June 2008