Freed, British detainee details abuses
Binyam Mohamed returned to London Monday a free man after spending the past seven years in a tangle of military prison camps, where he claims he was tortured.
A British resident, once accused of plotting with Al Qaeda to detonate a radiological "dirty bomb," is a free man and is now calling for an investigation into his alleged torture at the behest of the US government.Skip to next paragraph
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Binyam Mohamed was released from a cell at the Guantánamo terror prison camp in Cuba early Monday, where he had been held since September 2004. He was flown by private jet to a British military base near London, where he met with his legal team and doctors.
"I am not asking for vengeance; only that the truth should be made known, so that nobody in the future should have to endure what I have endured," Mr. Mohamed said in a statement released through his lawyers.
Mohamed's freedom comes after years of investigation and legal pressure by the London-based human rights group, Reprieve. It also follows a recent lobbying blitz in Britain by an appointed US military lawyer, Lt. Col. Yvonne Bradley.
How deep was British-U.S. partnership?
Mohamed's arrival in Britain is expected to add urgency to calls for an investigation into the possible knowledge by British intelligence agents of Mohamed's harsh treatment, including allegations of routine beatings, druggings, and cuttings with a scalpel. Some analysts say it may also increase pressure for a US investigation of controversial tactics used in the Bush administration's war on terror.
"I have been through an experience that I never thought to encounter in my darkest nightmares," Mohamed said. "Before this ordeal, 'torture' was an abstract word to me. I could never have imagined that I would be its victim."
He said he was "abducted, hauled from one country to the next, and tortured in medieval ways – all orchestrated by the United States government."
Mohamed is a 30-year-old former Ethiopian refugee who was granted asylum in Britain when he was 15. He has spent the past seven years of his life in a legal black hole that included stops in two Pakistani detention centers, two US military prisons in Afghanistan, the terror prison camp at Guantánamo, and – according to Mohamed and his lawyers – a bloody torture chamber in Morocco.
Claims of false confession under torture
Mohamed's lawyers say he was held for two years in secret detention without charge or access to a lawyer at the request of the US government. They say he was taken to Morocco, where interrogators tortured him until he consistently repeated a confession of involvement in a "dirty-bomb" plot and other alleged Al Qaeda operations.
Lawyers working on Mohamed's behalf stepped up pressure on both the US and British governments in recent months. In Britain, a legal campaign was undertaken to win release of 42 classified British documents related to Mohamed's interrogation and treatment. Meanwhile, in Washington, a federal judge ordered the US government to make a full accounting of the conditions surrounding every statement Mohamed allegedly made to his interrogators.