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Freed Guantanamo Detainee is Back in Britain


Terror suspect Binyam Mohamed, who was a British resident, has returned to the United Kingdom after being released from Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, where he had been held by U.S. military authorities for more than four years. Mohamed says he went through an experience he never thought to encounter in his "darkest nightmares," alleging he was abducted, transferred from one country to the next and tortured in what he described as "medieval ways" - moves he alleged were orchestrated by the U.S.

His plane touched down at a British air force base near London and shortly afterward Binyam Mohamed walked down the steps, across the tarmac and into a terminal building for an interview with police and immigration officials.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband welcomed Mohamed's return.

"His release and return from Guantanamo Bay is the result of a number of years of work by officials and with him and his team," he said.

Mohamed was born in Ethiopia and came to Britain with his family in 1994. They were granted asylum and given temporary residency.

Mohamed later converted to Islam and says he headed to Pakistan and Afghanistan to experience Islamic society and get away from a bad circle of friends back in Britain.

Mohamed was arrested in Pakistan in April of 2002. His lawyers claim he was held for nearly four months and tortured. They say Mohamed was then sent on a secret CIA flight to Morocco where he faced further torture and abuse and made what he says was a false confession because of it.

Morocco denies it ever held Mohamed and the United States says he was not the subject of a special rendition flight. Mohamed's lawyers say he was transferred to a U.S. military site in Afghanistan and then to Guantanamo in 2004.

Mohamed was charged with conspiring with al-Qaida members to commit terrorism and stood accused of involvement in a "dirty bomb" plot against U.S. targets. He was never tried and U.S. authorities dropped all charges.

Binyam Mohamed is the first Guantanamo detainee to be released since President Barack Obama took office.

In London, Foreign Secretary David Miliband welcomed the move.

"We very much welcome President Obama's commitment to close Guantanamo Bay and I see today's return of Binyam Mohamed as the first step towards that shared goal," said Miliband.

Mohamed has implicated British intelligence in his torture. Recently two high court judges were persuaded not to release details of his torture allegations for fear that might hinder intelligence sharing with the United States.

Kate Allen of Amnesty International says there must be a full inquiry.

"It is absolutely essential now that there be an independent inquiry into the role of the U.K. in secret detention and rendition and the travesty of justice that has taken place at Guantanamo in terms of Binyam Mohamed," said Allen.

After his arrival in Britain, Mohamed was detained under British anti-terrorism laws, but he has not been arrested. His residency permit expired while he was in Guantanamo and the Foreign Office has said he will now be subject to immigration restrictions as would any foreign resident.


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