Binyam Mohamed

Binyam Mohamed was released from Guantanamo Bay in March 2009. Following his release he claimed he was tortured with the collusion of UK security services.

Mr Mohamed was arrested in Pakistan in April 2002. From May 2002 to May 2004 there is no hard evidence available as to where Mr Mohamed was detained. He alleges he was subject to extraordinary rendition by the US to Morocco in July 2004. In January 2004 he alleges he was moved to a US military prison in Afghanistan. In September 2004 he was finally transferred to Guantanamo Bay.

While in Pakistan, Morocco, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Mr Mohamed alleged that he was subjected to torture and inhuman and degrading treatment. In particular he alleged that his treatment consisted of genital mutilation, deprivation of sleep and food, being held in stress positions for days at a time, and being forced to listen to loud music and screams of other prisoners while locked in a pitch black cell, all while being forced to implicate himself and others in terrorist plots against the US.

While in Morocco, Mr Mohamed claimed that his interrogators used personal information they could only have received from the British authorities, including detailed information about his life in the UK, people he knew and his education. He said that he was shown photographs which his interrogators told him had been provided by MI5. He also alleged that UK officials questioned him while he was detained in Pakistan and Guantanamo Bay.

In March 2009, the then Attorney General announced that Binyam Mohamed’s claims of kidnap and torture would be the subject of a police criminal investigation.

Mr Mohamed was charged by US authorities with terrorism related offences (charges which were later dropped). In order to help his defence he sought disclosure of material held by UK authorities. The High Court ruled he was entitled to access such documents, but the UK Government then claimed public interest immunity over the documents and seven paragraphs of the High Court’s judgment which summarised the UK authorities' knowledge of Binyam Mohamed's torture while in US custody.

While Mr Mohamed subsequently obtained the documents from the US authorities, the UK Government continued to resist publication of the seven paragraphs. In the meantime a US court ruled that Mr Mohamed had been subjected to torture and ill-treatment. In February 2010 the Court of Appeal ordered publication of the seven paragraphs.

Mr Mohamed and a number of other ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees have also brought a civil claim against the UK Government for its involvement in their ill-treatment and unlawful detention by the US authorities. The UK Government applied to the High Court for it to adopt a ‘closed material procedure’ which would see Mr Mohamed and the other claimants and their lawyers being excluded from the hearing of the case and the issuing of a ‘closed judgment’ that they would not be entitled to see.

In May 2010 the Court of Appeal ruled that an ordinary civil claim must be held in open court as a litigant’s right to know the case against him or her and to know the reasons why he or she has won or lost is a fundamental to the right to a fair trial. In July the High Court ordered the release of some of the documents relating to the case.

In November 2010 it was announced that Binyam Mohamed and some of the other former Guantanamo Bay detainees were to be awarded compensation by the British Government for the treatment they received.

 

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