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Freed British Resident Detainee Seeks Justice for Alleged Rendition Mistreatment

  • Tom Rivers

In his first broadcast interview after being held for nearly seven years, British resident Binyam Mohamed has spoken to the BBC. In the interview, the 30-year-old alleges he was the victim of a string of human rights abuses during his time of captivity in the CIA-run rendition network and he wants international justice.

Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian-born British resident was picked up in Pakistan in 2002 and detained for six years and ten months by U.S. intelligence authorities.

Over that time, Mohamed says he was transferred from Pakistan to secret so-called rendition prisons in Morocco and Afghanistan and then on to the main detention center in Guantanamo Bay.

Last month he was released without charge.

Binyam Mohamed alleges he was a victim of torture and he says British intelligence was involved in parts of his mistreatment.

Interviewed by the BBC, Mohamed says he wants justice and that includes trying the man he ultimately holds responsible for his detention and the detention of others, former U.S. President George W. Bush.

"He has to be taken to trial for what he has done all these seven years," said Mohamed. "If there is any evidence that the prime minister was involved or knew about this, then he should be put to trial too."

A number of British lawmakers - including the head of the main opposition Conservative party - are calling for a judge-led inquiry into the allegations under the time of Tony Blair's leadership.

But the current prime minister, Gordon Brown, is refusing to cooperate.

He says police can investigate case-by-case allegations of whether British intelligence agents may have colluded in the torture of terror suspects overseas.

But Brown looks increasingly isolated over the issue with many in the country now asking what might have been done in their name and they want transparency.

Mohamed contends that one British intelligence officer's role in Pakistan was to support the U.S. interrogators. This individual, Mohamed says, interviewed him for three hours.

Once moved on to Morocco, he says British operatives supplied the bulk of the questions he was being asked there.

"Most of the questions which I was asked could not have come from anywhere else but British intelligence," he said.

It was at this time in Morocco that Binyam Mohamed alleges that a razor was used to slash his genitals.

From there, Mohamed says he was sent to Afghanistan where, he "nearly lost his mind" in a dark cell with only a blanket on the floor and with loud music being piped in 24 hours a day.

"The dark prison, I was literally dead. I did not exist. I was not there," he said.

Mohamed tells the BBC that he signed a confession there under the threat that if he did not, he would be returned to his cell.

From there, he was flown to Guantanamo where he spent most of his detention years.

A spokesperson for the British government Thursday reiterated that it unreservedly condemns the use of torture.

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