Moazzam Begg Arrested on Suspicion of Terror Offences
Moazzam Begg, Director of Cage Prisoners (which has recently changed its name to CAGE), was arrested Tuesday morning on suspicion of terror offences in Syria.
According to the Guardian:
Begg, 45, was arrested in Hall Green, Birmingham, and is suspected of attending a terrorist training camp and facilitating terrorism overseas.
The West Midlands police counter-terrorism unit confirmed to the Guardian that Begg was one of those arrested in Birmingham.
Police stressed that arrest does not imply guilt. Police said: “We can confirm that Moazzam Begg was arrested this morning.
“We are confirming this name as a result of the anticipated high public interest to accredited media. We would take this opportunity to remind you of the requirement to report responsibly, that this is an arrest, not a charge, and that our naming does not imply any guilt.”
Officers said they were in the process of removing vehicles and electronic equipment for forensic analysis.
Detective Superintendent Shaun Edwards, head of investigations for the regional counter-terrorism unit, said: “All four arrests are connected. They were pre-planned and intelligence-led. There was no immediate risk to public safety.
In 2013, Begg wrote about his visits to Syria:
In the July last year, I visited Syria where I met numerous former prisoners who had been held by the Asad regime as well as a few victims of US and UK rendition. One of the men, a Libyan who had resided in Syria had been rendered to Libya after phone call by a British Libyan dissident had been intercepted by MI5 and its contents disclosed to Asad’s mukhabaraat. Documents found in the headquarters of Gaddafi’s mukhabaraat after the fall of Tripoli clearly prove British involvement.
Subsequently, I travelled to Syria without incident. I spent much time accumulating testimony and information for a report on the situation of the current prisoners as well as the accounts of those who had been detained and tortured in the past. I witnessed the squalid refugee camps, I visited the wounded – young and old, some of whom I buried, I saw the carnage of the Asad’s killing machine and I saw the beautiful young faces of children aged beyond their years. I witnessed the harsh winter and saw farmers chop down their olive trees to warm themselves and I heard the horror stories of torture under the rule of both Bashar and Hafiz al-Asad. However, I also saw aid coming in from all over the Muslim world which included British ambulances, British fire engines, British garbage disposal trucks; British aid centres and hospitals with British doctors (one of whom was killed saving lives a few months ago) and volunteers from Britain’s Muslim community. And yes, there were some British fighters too. I do not believe any of them posed any kind of threat to the UK.
Begg travelled to Afghanistan in 2001 allegedly to set up a school and help provide clean water. Following the invasion of Afghanistan by US-led forces, Begg fled to Islamabad where he was detained by the CIA and later transferred to Guantanamo Bay in 2003, where he claims he was tortured and witnessed two fellow prisoners being beaten to death.
Pentagon officials, however, claim Mr. Begg trained at a number of terrorist camps, and was “associated” with Al Qaeda operatives. US Defense Department officials also claim that one of Begg’s former associates was Omar Saeed Sheikh, who volunteered on a Convoy of Mercy trip to Bosnia with Begg in 1993. Sheikh is facing execution in Pakistan for the murder of the Jewish Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl.
In 1994, British police found night-vision equipment, a bullet-proof vest and “extremist literature” at Begg’s home.
Begg’s Palestinian friend, Khalil Deek, has been described by the United States 9/11 commission as an associate of senior Al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah. American counterterrorism officials suspected Mr. Begg of working with Deek to publish electronic terrorist manuals, entitled, “Encyclopedia of Jihad”. Deek provided this manual to two Palestinians and Al Qaeda operative Zubaydah to bomb tourist sites in Jordan.
Although Begg admits an association with Deek, he has denied ever meeting Zubaydah.
These days, Begg is described as “Britain’s most famous supporter of the Taliban”. Asim Qureshi, the executive Director of Begg’s organisation Cage Prisoners, has been filmed at a Hizb ut Tahrir demonstration, exhorting British Muslims to support “jihad” against British troops. A British court has branded Moazzam Begg as an “extremist” who associates with “practised and accomplished liars”. Even now, Begg does not hide his own support for religious despotism despite his re-invented ‘human rights activist’ persona. In his memoir, Begg insists the Taliban were “better than anything Afghanistan has had in the past twenty-five years.” Elsewhere, Begg has cited and sold the works of the “charismatic scholar” Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, a former mentor to Osama bin Laden.