Five Stories From Britain’s Guantánamo: (5) Detainee Z

2.4.09

I am a 42-year old married man with two children, who has lived in this country for almost 18 years.

I was detained in September 2005 under immigration powers, and I have been informed, to my surprise, that I am a threat to national security. Until now I have not been told what the allegation is, but I will challenge you — if you can bring any secret evidence against me that is true, and prove that I am a threat to this country in the past, present or future, I will plead guilty to any crime that has been committed and you can lock me up forever.

I believe that oppressing people, robbing them of their liberty, making their family and especially their children suffer by depriving them of their childhood is the worst crime of injustice.

For a country to be the beacon for the world it is not by military power or abuse of power or economic power — it is by its true and fair justice system for everyone, regardless of the colour of their skin, country of origin, or their religion.

But I am very sorry to tell you the painful and bitter truth. Since 1997 I have witnessed this justice declining bit by bit, starting by passing unnecessary and oppressive laws, manipulating the media who in turn mislead the public, and the unfair legal rulings by a biased judge. This is far more dangerous a situation than the present economic crisis, because following this path leads to chaos and public disorder.

A nation without a fair justice system is a doomed nation. You may not see it now but all the signs lead to it. You need to act immediately to prevent it, and to save your country from such a disaster, if you truly love your country. If you think you are safe from this injustice — and this only applies to some foreign Muslims and it won’t apply to you in the future — I say think again.

I advise you to look back in history and learn what makes nations strong and what destroys nations. History will tell you that nations are weak when they don’t have strong and fair justice systems. I quote from Hermann Goering:

Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.

It is claimed that I am “not conducive to the public good.” Please give me the chance to prove this wrong. All I ask is the security to dedicate myself to the well-being of my family, and prove my worth to this society, where I have made my home for nearly two decades.

I invite any MP present this afternoon to visit my home, meet me and my family and discover that I am no different from any of you.

This statement was written by Detainee Z, and was read out, with his permission, by the actor Tom Peters, at “Britain’s Guantánamo? The use of secret evidence and evidence based on torture in the UK courts,” a parliamentary meeting in the House of Commons, chaired by Diane Abbott MP, on March 30, 2009.

This statement (the last of five) is part of a series of four articles and five statements examining the use of secret evidence in the British courts. For an introduction, see Britain’s Guantánamo: An Introduction, and for the first three articles, see Torture taints all our lives (published in the Guardian’s Comment is free), Britain’s Guantánamo: Calling For An End To Secret Evidence and Britain’s Guantánamo: Fact or Fiction? For the first four statements, see: Five Stories From Britain’s Guantánamo: (1) Detainee Y, Five Stories From Britain’s Guantánamo: (2) Detainee BB, Five Stories From Britain’s Guantánamo: (3) Detainee U and Five Stories From Britain’s Guantánamo: (4) Hussain Al-Samamara.

Andy Worthington is the author of 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, and see here for my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, published in March 2009.

For other articles dealing with Belmarsh, control orders, deportation bail, deportations and extraditions, see Deals with dictators undermined by British request for return of five Guantánamo detainees (August 2007), Britain’s Guantánamo: the troubling tale of Tunisian Belmarsh detainee Hedi Boudhiba, extradited, cleared and abandoned in Spain (August 2007), Guantánamo as house arrest: Britain’s law lords capitulate on control orders (November 2007), The Guantánamo Britons and Spain’s dubious extradition request (December 2007), Britain’s Guantánamo: control orders renewed, as one suspect is freed (February 2008), Spanish drop “inhuman” extradition request for Guantánamo Britons (March 2008), UK government deports 60 Iraqi Kurds; no one notices (March 2008), Repatriation as Russian Roulette: Will the Two Algerians Freed from Guantánamo Be Treated Fairly? (July 2008), Abu Qatada: Law Lords and Government Endorse Torture (February 2009), Ex-Guantánamo prisoner refused entry into UK, held in deportation centre (February 2009), Home Secretary ignores Court decision, kidnaps bailed men and imprisons them in Belmarsh (February 2009), Britain’s insane secret terror evidence (March 2009).

One Response

  1. Britain’s Guantánamo: Fact or Fiction? by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] This article is part of a series of four articles and five statements examining the use of secret evidence in the British courts. For an introduction, see Britain’s Guantánamo: An Introduction, and for the first two articles, see Torture taints all our lives (published in the Guardian’s Comment is free), and Britain’s Guantánamo: Calling For An End To Secret Evidence. For the statements, see: Five Stories From Britain’s Guantánamo: (1) Detainee Y, Five Stories From Britain’s Guantánamo: (2) Detainee BB, Five Stories From Britain’s Guantánamo: (3) Detainee U, Five Stories From Britain’s Guantánamo: (4) Hussain Al-Samamara and Five Stories From Britain’s Guantánamo: (5) Detainee Z. […]

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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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