Urgent appeal for British resident Binyam Mohamed, “close to suicide” in Guantánamo

18.12.07

Binyam Mohamed

Disturbing news from Clive Stafford Smith, director of the legal charity Reprieve, who reports that his client Binyam Mohamed “may be close to suicide.”

Mr. Mohamed, 29, is one of five British residents whose return to the UK was requested by the British government in August, but although three of these men –- Jamil El-Banna, Omar Deghayes and Abdulnour Sameur –- are expected to return imminently to the UK, and a fourth, Shaker Aamer, has elected to negotiate his repatriation with the Saudi authorities, Mr. Mohamed’s return to the UK was turned down by the US authorities, who remain intent on prosecuting him for an alleged bomb plot in a “war crimes” trial at Guantánamo, even though, as Clive Stafford Smith has repeatedly pointed out, all the supposed “evidence” against him was extracted under torture.

In a medical report commissioned by Reprieve and submitted to David Miliband, the British Foreign Secretary, Dr Daniel Creson, a psychiatrist from Texas with extensive experience in the treatment of the victims of torture, warns that descriptions of Mr. Mohamed’s recent behaviour in Guantánamo –- smearing the walls of his cell with his own faeces –- suggest that his mental health is deteriorating, that he is suffering from severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and that he “is reaching the end of his psychological tether.”

In the report submitted to Mr. Miliband, Stafford Smith calls for “urgent humanitarian intervention” on behalf of his client. He adds, “The urgency is underlined today because Mr. Mohamed has been repeatedly smearing his cell walls with faeces. This is not because Mr. Mohamed is trying to violate the rules (as the US military apparently believes), but because of his mental instability. The military’s response is to cut the water to his cell off, compounding an obvious health hazard.”

He continues: “Your Government’s intervention on behalf of the British residents in Guantánamo has been welcome. Perhaps my other three clients will spend this festive season at home with their families, after many years of incarceration without trial. Mr. Mohamed will spend it in a cell smeared with faeces. There is no prisoner in Guantánamo who has suffered more than Mr. Mohamed, and I am very concerned that, without rapid intervention, he will only leave that terrible place in a casket.”

After pointing out that his client, who was captured in Pakistan in April 2002, was rendered to Morocco for 18 months, where he repeatedly had his penis cut by interrogators, Stafford Smith concludes his report as follows: “Once he got to Guantánamo Bay, far from receiving the palliative care that this history of torture would call for, he has faced on-going mistreatment –- held in solitary confinement in a Supermax prison, physically abused, and deprived of any meaningful treatment. Please do not let the US military public relations delude anybody, as the prison he is in is harsher than any of the many Death Row prisons I have visited in the past 25 years.”

Readers are encouraged to write to David Miliband to request that he insists on Mr. Mohamed’s return to the UK.

This is the text of Mr. Stafford Smith’s letter that accompanied the report:

Dear Mr. Miliband,
There is an urgent need for humanitarian intervention on behalf of Binyam Mohamed, the British resident from Kensington who the US apparently plans to continue holding in Guantánamo Bay, and who I am representing in his habeas corpus proceedings.
As we hope to see three British residents home in the next few days, Mr. Mohamed’s plight becomes ever more stark. I am sure that you are aware that Mr. Mohamed has suffered torture and abuse by US foederati [proxy torturers] in Pakistan and Morocco, and by US personnel themselves in the Dark Prison of Kabul and in Guantánamo Bay itself. That the Bush Administration continues to deny its role in the torture and inhuman treatment of prisoners such as Mr. Mohamed is, sad to say, simply dishonest.
I doubt either you or I ever thought we would be dealing with the consequences of torture committed by the US on someone from Britain. It is sad that this is the case, but our horror must motivate us into vigorous action.
Yours sincerely,
Clive Stafford Smith

For more on the story of Binyam Mohamed –- and the other Guantánamo detainees subjected to “extraordinary rendition” and imprisonment in “black sites” run by the CIA –- see my newly published book The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed.

Note: Binyam Mohamed is also referred to as Binyam Mohammed al-Habashi.

As published on Indymedia.

For a sequence of articles relating to Binyam Mohamed, see the following: Guantánamo: Torture victim Binyam Mohamed sues British government for evidence (May 2008), Binyam Mohamed’s letter from Guantánamo to Gordon Brown (May 2008), Guantánamo trials: critical judge sacked, British torture victim charged (June 2008), Binyam Mohamed: UK court grants judicial review over torture allegations, as US files official charges (June 2008), Binyam Mohamed’s judicial review: judges grill British agent and question fairness of Guantánamo trials (August 2008), High Court rules against UK and US in case of Guantánamo torture victim Binyam Mohamed (August 2008), In a plea from Guantánamo, Binyam Mohamed talks of “betrayal” by the UK (September 2008), US Justice Department drops “dirty bomb plot” allegation against Binyam Mohamed (October 2008), Meltdown at the Guantánamo Trials (October 2008), Guilt By Torture: Binyam Mohamed’s Transatlantic Quest for Justice (November 2008), A History of Music Torture in the “War on Terror” (December 2008), Is Robert Gates Guilty of Perjury in Guantánamo Torture Case? (December 2008), British torture victim Binyam Mohamed to be released from Guantánamo (January 2009), Don’t Forget Guantánamo (February 2009), The betrayal of British torture victim Binyam Mohamed (February 2009), Hiding Torture And Freeing Binyam Mohamed From Guantánamo (February 2009), Binyam Mohamed’s Coming Home From Guantánamo, As Torture Allegations Mount (February 2009), Binyam Mohamed’s statement on his release from Guantánamo (February 2009), Who Is Binyam Mohamed, the British resident released from Guantánamo? (February 2009), Seven Years of Torture: Binyam Mohamed Tells His Story (March 2009), Binyam Mohamed’s Plea Bargain: Trading Torture For Freedom (March 2009), Guantánamo, Bagram and the “Dark Prison”: Binyam Mohamed talks to Moazzam Begg (March 2009), Obama’s First 100 Days: Mixed Messages On Torture (includes the Jeppesen lawsuit, May 2009), UK Government Lies Exposed; Spy Visited Binyam Mohamed In Morocco (May 2009), Daily Mail Pulls Story About Binyam Mohamed And British Spy (May 2009), Government Bans Testimony On Binyam Mohamed And The British Spy (May 2009), More twists in the tale of Binyam Mohamed (in the Guardian, May 2009), Did Hillary Clinton Threaten UK Over Binyam Mohamed Torture Disclosure? (May 2009), Outsourcing torture to foreign climes (in the Guardian, May 2009), Binyam Mohamed: Was Muhammad Salih’s Death In Guantánamo Suicide? (June 2009), Miliband Shows Leadership, Reveals Nothing About Torture To Parliamentary Committee (June 2009).

3 Responses

  1. freedetainees.org » Hiding Torture And Freeing Binyam Mohamed From Guantánamo says...

    […] a sequence of articles relating to Binyam Mohamed, see the following: Urgent appeal for British resident Binyam Mohamed, “close to suicide” in Guantánamo (December 2007), Guantánamo: Torture victim Binyam Mohamed sues British government for evidence […]

  2. Seven Years of Torture: Binyam Mohamed Tells His Story « Israelis wars on muslims indicates the beginning of the fall of the American Empire! says...

    […] subscribe to my RSS feed. For a sequence of articles relating to Binyam Mohamed, see the following: Urgent appeal for British resident Binyam Mohamed, “close to suicide” in Guantánamo (December 2007), Guantánamo: Torture victim Binyam Mohamed sues British government for evidence […]

  3. Guantanamo Bay recidivism | Shouting at the Clouds says...

    […] seems to me that given the gloriously wonderful conditions of Guantanamo Bay, it would be surprising if inmates didn’t rise up to fight […]

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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