July 18th, 2005

Professional

Interview with released British prisoner from Gitmo

Moazzam Begg, a British citizen, was held at various prisons, including Guantanamo Bay, for over three years before being released without charges. Now free, he shares the story of how he survived.

Read his interview here --> http://www.alternet.org/rights/23576/

* * * * *

From the interview:

PRATAP CHATTERJEE: Because you speak Urdu, Dari, and Arabic, did you find yourself acting as a translator for other detainees?

MOAZZAM BEGG: Yes, I've translated in Bagram and several times for detainees, with medical issues, and grievances to the Red Cross and others that they had.

PRATAP CHATTERJEE: What did people say to you about their treatment?

MOAZZAM BEGG: One of the quotes I heard people tell the guards a lot is that they weren't terrorists before they came in, but they certainly will be when they leave. There we so many common rights that were being denied.

* * * * *

MOAZZAM BEGG: Cells were labeled in relation to encounters the US had in history at one point or other to Muslim groups. There were cells entitled Twin Towers, Pentagon, Somalia, Lebanon, Libya. So all these titles were based on incidents with the Muslim world. And what possibly could Lebanon have anything to do with us there? I know there was an attack in Beirut in 1982 on a United States marine barracks when I was six years old. What does that have anything to with me, and why I am being held in a cell labeled after that? So, this is the kind of mentality that was being propounded around soldiers, who obviously they didn't know better at all. My experience has been that sadly these soldiers didn't know about the rest of the world. America is a huge country.

* * * * *