An interview with Faraj Hassan Alsaadi (from 2007)


The following interview with Faraj Hassan Alsaadi was conducted by Cageprisoners and published in August 2007, and I’m cross-posting it in memory of Faraj, who died in a motorbike accident on August 16. Imprisoned without charge or trial, or held under a control order, from May 2002 until December 2009, when his control order was finally revoked, Faraj was a free man for less than eight months before his untimely death. He leaves behind a wife and three young children.

Cageprisoners: Could you introduce yourself to our readers?

Faraj Hassan Alsaadi: My name is Faraj Hassan Al-Saad, alias Abu Shaima, born in North Africa (Libya) in 1980. I am married with one daughter, called Shaima, who is now six years old.

Cageprisoners: What bought you to the UK from Italy?

Faraj Hassan Alsaadi: In fact, Italy was not a place for me to reside in. I did live in Italy for a few months. It was my first destination to enter Europe, as many asylum seekers do. Then I came to the UK, as I was advised by my brother, who has been granted asylum to remain indefinitely in the UK, to come to the UK. Italy was a scary place to live in for the Libyan opposition abroad, as Libya used to be colonized by Italy, so the relations between the two governments is very strong till this day. Therefore I never claimed asylum there nor did I tell anyone I was a Libyan, as I feared being deported back to the dictatorship of Libya.

Cageprisoners: Could you describe the nature of your arrest in May 2002?

Faraj Hassan Alsaadi: Nearly a month after I came to England, I was coming back home from the immigration department in south London. I felt that someone was following me everywhere. I stopped my journey to pray dhuhr in Al-Muntada Al-Islamic mosque in Parsons Green area. After I finished my prayer, I found the same person who was sitting beside me on the train from south London, then standing in the train station, so as soon as I boarded the train he followed me wherever I went. So when I left the train in north London near my brother’s home, I saw him coming on the other side of the main road. I called to him, but he ran away. I told my brother about it, but none of us understood who this person was and why he was following me.

As for me, I carried on with my life without thinking about it again. Then very suddenly and without any expectation; after my brother and I came back from Fajr prayer in our local mosque, we were woken up because of the doorbell. My brother went to see who was ringing the bell at 6:30 am. He opened the door as he saw the police outside. They came straight to the guest room where I was sleeping. They asked me about my name and introduced themselves to me. They were from Scotland Yard’s Special Unit and were accompanied by some immigration officers. There was an Arabic translator with them also. I asked him what do they want and why they came here. He said they are from an anti-terrorism unit and they want to question you. The officer told me, you are living in the UK as an illegal immigrant, so I gave him the ID card I have received from the Home Office after claiming asylum, which showed them my temporary residence in the UK. Although he looked at all my documents, he said I had to go to the police station for questioning. He gave me a choice of whether I wanted to go freely with them or they would handcuff me. I said I would go freely as I have committed no crime to allow them to put handcuffs on an innocent man. I was in the police station till 4 am the next day.

I was informed that my brother was also in the police station, because they found the Italian passport I used to come to the UK, which was the only way for me to reach here, as all asylum seekers do when they get in the country. They also found another British passport I wanted to use for bringing my wife from Pakistan, so that we can be reunited again. I straight away told my solicitor that these two passports were mine and my brother had nothing to do with them nor had he seen them, as they were in my personal bag in the guest room of his house. Soon after, my brother was released and I was granted bail by the police and released from custody. But the immigration authorities did not want to release me and told me that I will be transferred to the detention centre in the next two days. I was told I would remain there until they looked into my asylum case, so I stayed in the police station for five days. I was then transferred to Leicester prison, instead, which is 115 miles from London. There was a reason behind this far destination transfer, which was to make the visit difficult for my brother. [Leicester is] one of the worse prisons in the UK and the regime was so racist in there.

Cageprisoners: What were the charges against you?

Faraj Hassan Alsaadi: I was never charged with anything the whole time I was in Leicester, but while I was there I was visited by three officers from Scotland Yard Anti-Terrorism special unit. The officers showed me an article from an Italian newspaper. They asked me whether I know the building with the article or not. I said no. They said this is the church you tried to blow up in Italy. I simply told them that if they had had anything on me they should charge me, and I will prove my innocence in a court of law, as I believed these allegations against me were all false. They came once again and asked me to open some codes for them — electronic and some Arabic handwriting — but I never understood about these things, nor do I know why they are asking someone like me. They asked me about some names and showed me some photographs of people I never knew in my life. So the answer I gave them was always the same — “I don’t know,” and this was the truth.

The police officers offered me to work for them. They stated if I agreed to give names and address of anyone I know in this country or abroad, I would be released, given residence in the UK, and granted a visa to have [my] wife and daughter to join me in the UK. As I only know my brother who lives here and I was concerned about my friends, the innocent Muslims whom I know, I told them I don’t know anyone. I told the officers that next time they should contact my solicitor before they came to see me again, then I walked out of the visit room.

After two months in Leicester, I was bought back to London regarding the two passports they found with me the day I was arrested. I was charged for possessing them both. I was given the wrong advice by my previous dishonest lawyer — to plead guilty for them both. In fact I should not, as one of them I used to escape for my life to a place where I can claim asylum and protect my life, which I did. I was sentenced to two months’ imprisonment, which means I have to serve only one month for that. From court I was taken to Wormwood Scrubs to serve that time.

Cageprisoners: Where were you held initially?

Faraj Hassan Alsaadi: I was held in Leicester prison for two months, Wormwood Scrubs for three and a half months, Belmarsh ten months, Brixton two and a half years then Belmarsh for another three and a half months, and then I was transferred to Long Lartin high security prison where I have been remanded since April 2006.

Cageprisoners: Could you describe the regime there?

Faraj Hassan Alsaadi: The regime in prison always embodies a group of uneducated staff who couldn’t find any job in the outside world. They only train them for three months how to open and close the doors, or take someone to segregation, or strip search an inmate. Many of these staff [have] been caught [at the] prison gates smuggling drugs and mobile phones into prison. They always talk in haughtiness and disrespect. All male and female staff use bad language. They don’t care about anyone inside and they only use the rules if they can say, “You can’t have this, or you shouldn’t do this” etc. Prison officers hate all Muslims in prison, especially if you are a devoted Muslim. It is very hard for Muslims to get a job, attend education classes, or gym sessions. Prison officers only want to see you behind doors, nothing else.

Cageprisoners: You said at this point, “I felt I was being unfairly treated because of my religion.” What makes you say this?

Faraj Hassan Alsaadi: I only realised at the time that I am one of the thousands of Muslims that have been kidnapped from their houses and amongst their families, wives and children without any reason, just because of some false information or suspicion, where they ended up in prison for months and years without any legal appearance in court. Muslims are treated nowadays like the Bani Israel at the time of the Pharaoh. So if this is not a police state, then how can a police state be?

Cageprisoners: You were transferred to Belmarsh. What was the reason for your transfer?

Faraj Hassan Alsaadi: The reason I was transferred to Belmarsh [was] because I applied to come out on bail on the 1st of November 2002, so because my bail was refused I was straightaway transferred there, even though I was not classified as a Category “A” prisoner at the time. It was in a way trying to discipline me, so that if I applied for bail again I would face worse consequences. The fact that the Home Office are the ones who control the prisons, deal with your case, put you [in] the category they want to, release reports [in] the media — their policy [is] always to make you look like the most dangerous man in the whole world. So if they want to put you in Belmarsh, in a high security prison, [it] would mean [something negative] to the judge who wanted to grant you bail. I believe the Home Office always uses this policy with anyone who fights his case by using the law, when they find themselves that they might lose the case.

Cageprisoners: You describe Belmarsh as a place where “human rights are violated in unbearable ways.” Could you tell us about some of your experience in Belmarsh?

Faraj Hassan Alsaadi: In fact, Belmarsh is a prison built specifically in the past two decades for the IRA, a very high security prison. There is also another prison inside it with its own wall and regime, where most prisoners in there are Muslims. In Belmarsh, prisoners are not allowed out of their cells for 22 to 23 hours a day. They are only allowed out for one hour in the exercise yard and one hour allowed for association. However, if the weather is bad — i.e. if is raining, which is very common — we don’t get it and [it is] sometimes reduced to 15-20 minutes. Normally prisoners fight for the phone, because they only have three phone boxes in each wing and each wing includes nearly 80 prisoners, so most of them want to use the phone. The showers were very few in comparison to the population of the wing. I personally have a shower in my cell just to save the time in doing something else. Many prisoners suffer from terrible depression being locked up for so long, for months and years without any human contact and interaction. The Muslim prisoners in particular suffered daily abuse and discrimination from the guards. Most of the Category “A” prisoners in there are Muslims, and I remember that one of the brothers from Algeria was on Category “A,” although he has to serve less then a year for a false document, and Category “A” is only for high profile cases.

Belmarsh is a racist establishment. It is institutionally racist. The staff and the Governor have no regards for the religious and cultural rights of Muslims. Back in February or March 2006, there was a lot of media coverage, saying that Muslims in Belmarsh are instituting gangs, forcing other prisoners to become Muslims and have a meeting once week. They meant Jummuh prayers, and all [this] information was given to the media by members of staff or by the Governor himself. It is obvious that many people revert to the light of Islam because of the respect, unity, good manners and love between the Muslim prisoners in Belmarsh — they also wanted to join the Caravan of Islam. In fact, the EU has done an independent report on Belmarsh condemning its treatment of prisoners.

Some of the terrible things I have experienced in Belmarsh [include] once [when] I had Islamic books in Arabic sent in from my brother. One of the officers [who] opened the package said, “You can’t have them, because the translator must check them first.” I asked him to write the books in the property card, but he said, “Don’t worry, we will do that when you have them in your cell.” I believed him. After a while, I asked for the books to be returned to me, as it had been some while. However, I was told I have no books sent in at all! I met that officer after a while and asked him about the books, but his answer was, “I don’t know, I never took these books.” I believe he threw them in the rubbish bin.

The other terrible experience that I remember the most happened in February 2006. I was standing in the queue waiting to use the phone. I had a disagreement with one of the inmates who doesn’t respect the other person’s turn. I told him he could not go before me whatsoever, so he started using abusive language. Unfortunately, the situation ended up in a fight between us. I can recall that his nose was bleeding and the blood was everywhere on the floor. The staff themselves saw the whole incident, and that I was the one who was attacked first and I was just defending myself. Instead, they took me alone to the segregation unit and kept me there for few days. While I was in the segregation unit, they did not allow me to have my prayer mat or Qur’an, but Alhamdu’lillah I was reading Qur’an from the heart. I asked them to bring my clock and prayer timetable but they never did. There were a few books in the segregation block, so I asked the officers to bring me some books but they never did. They did not even let me either call my solicitor or give me paper or envelope to write to my solicitors. After being held in the segregation for a few days I was taken before the Prison adjudicator for adjudication. I was told the case was dismissed as a result of the lack of evidence. I could not believe someone of my size — 12 stone frame — could be having attacked someone who weighed nearly 18 stone. The adjudicator was not interested that I was the one who was attacked and instead I got punished for defending myself, even though the staff witnessed everything.

Cageprisoners: During this time, you were charged under the Terrorism Act. Could you tell us more about those charges and your response to them?

Faraj Hassan Alsaadi: The first time I realised that Italy might extradite me was when I appeared in Court on the 1st of November 2002, when I applied for bail. I was never charged with any offence in the UK and should have been granted bail. Instead, they were making up the case and detaining me under immigration power, where I was kept in remand for another 10 months in Belmarsh. In the meantime, I applied for bail nearly four times but it kept getting refused. In the final attempt, the judge gave the prosecution one more week for some more evidence to be served against me in accordance with their claim, or he will release me on bail.

So before the end of the week and after 15 months’ detention in prison, I was charged on the 24th of June 2003 under the Terrorism Act, facing extradition to Milan, Italy. Now according to UK law, the police cannot detain anyone in custody for more then 28 days. But someone like me — a foreigner — can be detained in custody under the cover of immigration power for more then 450 days to allow the police to do their own investigations and build false cases against innocent people. They caged me and my co-defendants for having associated together with other unidentified person[s] for the purpose of performing acts of violence e.g. attacks, also in countries other than Italy for the purposes of terrorism and with complicity with other unidentified persons [who] forged and counterfeited a large number of documents such as passports, driving licence and residents’ permits, and the last charge was for complicity with other unidentified persons in order to benefit for themselves or for others [who] received blank forms for documents or genuine documents issued for other persons for the purpose of forging them.

In the case, I was described by the Italians as one of the major leaders of terrorist association, with a foremost role most likely in all Europe and certainly Italy, Holland and the UK, where I have relations with large number or persons belonging to the terrorist group or any sympathisers with the group ideology. I was finally found not guilty of all terrorism charges in my absence by the Court of Milan. It was a part of a drama these governments act [out against] innocent Muslims to assure their public that they are doing something to protect them from alleged terrorism attacks and so-called terrorists. I challenge them to come face to face in a court of law in front of juries. Although I won this case now, I challenge any government to bring those charges again if they are really sure of what they allegedly say about me.

Cageprisoners: You were also facing extradition to Italy. What were your concerns about being sent there?

Faraj Hassan Alsaadi: Actually, Italy was the county I was facing extradition to, where I was charged with terrorism, so it is the same case I was fighting. The reason I was fighting this extradition [was] because I was concerned about being deported back to Libya or handed to the Americans from there. In fact, I suggested to my solicitor that I was willing to face trial in Italy as I was innocent, on the condition that the Italian authorities give me an assurance signed from the court, which is approved by the Home Secretary in the UK, and in the event I am released in Italy, I can return to the UK to resume my application for asylum, but the Home Office did not accept this proposal. I wanted to fight this case in Italy, because I was confident there was no evidence against me and I was innocent of all the charges alleged against me, but as I said, Libya itself is a state of Italy and I had no doubt that once extradited to Italy I will deported back to Tripoli where I faced torture and even the death penalty.

Cageprisoners: Following this you were sent to Brixton prison. You say that “Allah knows how much I suffered in that prison.” Could you tell us more about the abuse you suffered there?

Faraj Hassan Alsaadi: Well, Brixton is a very famous area in London, so the prison in Brixton means that you get all the criminals residing in this prison. I was transferred to Brixton prison on the 28th of August 2003, where I spent nearly two and half years. In Brixton prison at least 60 percent of the inmates are drug addicts. So I always used to refuse sharing a cell with anyone and always requested a single cell, but the staff deliberately refused to give me a single cell. As a result of me sticking to my principles I would end up in segregation for days as I refused to go back to the wing until they found me a single cell.

Once I was speaking to the principal wing officer about something. While we were talking, a senior officer came towards us as said, “Don’t talk to him; he is a terrorist!” I kept silent and walked away from him without saying anything. So the following day, in the morning, I was doing some training in the exercise yard, [and] the principal officer said to me, “Are you preparing yourself for your Holy War?” I again walked away from him without any response. I put in a formal complaint but I never received a reply to my complaint. I came to this principal officer and asked him to move me to another wing, so he moved me straight away. However, once I was in my cell, suddenly [a] few officers came in and said, “We are going to search your cell.” I said, “It is yours, anyway.” After they finished searching the cell, they said, “We’ve found a screwdriver in your cell.” I had never had a screwdriver in my possession, nor did I know where it came from. When I was out on adjudication they found me guilty and said I was trying to stab one of the staff! They gave me 21 days’ loss of TV, canteen and association. I knew this was all planned by the staff.

I wish to highlight another example of the how prison officers abuse their position to set up prisoners so they get punished. On this occasion I was coming back from the gym. When I arrived on the wing I saw all the Muslim inmates, nearly 25 men, protesting against the principal officer who was so racist. The inmates were refusing to have their lunch or go back to their cells unless the Governor No.1 came to speak to them. As a Muslim I too joined this peaceful demonstration to demand our rights. The brothers all wanted me to speak on their behalf, so I explained everything to the staff, but the staff started to mobilise from other wings. They started attacking the brothers and four of the officers came and held me on one side. The officers knew that all the Muslim inmates respect me and would not tolerate seeing me on the floor, so they were telling them to stay where they were. While all this was happening I was speaking to the brothers in Arabic and telling them not to use any act of violence, even though the staff were so violent they broke one of the brothers’ arm.

I was taken to my cell over lunch, then after 2 pm they came to me and said that the Governor wanted to see me. When I went to see the Governor I saw at least 20 officers sitting with him. I said, “We have to speak privately.” So the Governor ordered the officers to take me down to segregation. I was in the segregation cell for [a] few days. Then I was told that that I could get charged by the police from outside for inciting others to declare jihad in prison! I just knew they were trying to set me up with this charge, as it carries a very high custodial sentence. In the end, Allah protected me, as the officers were found to be lying in their statements, because they said in their statements they allegedly heard me inciting and calling the other Muslim prisoners to fight, but they forgot I was speaking in Arabic, which none of the officers could understand! Therefore the case was dropped, Alhamdu’lillah. These are only a few of the many stories I have to tell, but I hope to deliver them another time, Insha’allah.

Cageprisoners: After your third appeal against your extradition, the request was withdrawn. What were the circumstances around this? How did you feel when you heard the news?

Faraj Hassan Alsaadi: In fact, while I was appealing for the third time in the House of Lords, my co-defendants were awaiting a verdict for their trial. They were all found not guilty of all terrorism charges but only found guilty of lesser charges of “forging documents.” They were convicted and sentenced to three and a half and four and a half years’ imprisonment. I was also given the same verdict in my absence at the time, which the British government kept a secret in order to use that against me, by saying the case was withdrawn because of the deadline in the Italians’ legal system to continue proceedings, which recently was submitted to SIAC [the Special Immigration Appeals Commission] by the Home Office. Of course, I was happy, because I knew the case was based on artificial evidence planted against me by the police, so being found not guilty is 100 percent by the Will of Allah.

Cageprisoners: It was around this time that the media portrayed you as the “European envoy to Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.” How do you respond to this allegation?

Faraj Hassan Alsaadi: As far as I remember, I explained to the Cageprisoners’ readers in my first letter that I was in Belmarsh the time the war began in Iraq. I heard about Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi only in the news when he emerged in the public domain nearly two and half years after the war in Iraq had started, so how can I be his envoy? Otherwise I am in America or already being charged in this country, the envoy of Al-Zarqawi would be a very big thing for them, I believe.

Cageprisoners: When the Home Office decided upon your deportation to Italy, what was the reason for this? What did you feel about this?

Faraj Hassan Alsaadi: When the extradition from Italy was dropped, I was happy, as it was the reason for me being in prison [and] I wanted to be out of prison. If I was a British citizen I should have been released straightaway, but because of my immigration matter I applied for bail and it was supposed to be on the 1st of November 2005. However, a day before my hearing I found an article about me in the Times newspaper — they mentioned all those things about Al-Zarqawi, which was all based on fabrication to stop me having bail. When I rang my solicitor I was told that the Home Office decided to send me to Italy by force after eight days under what is called the “Dublin Convention.” Even though I was fighting my extradition case in the House of Lords, they just wanted to break the law and get rid of me by any means, as they knew themselves they were losing the case in the House of Lords.

Two days later they were talking about my case in the House of Parliament, Tony Blair and the Conservatives. I just felt to get ready for deportation. I even asked my brother, who lives in London, to buy me some property to take with me to Libya, and asked to get a visit so I can see him for the last time in my life, as I knew Italy will send me back to Libya, where I will get the death penalty. I rang my wife in Pakistan and mother in Libya. I asked them to pray for me and forgive me if I have done anything wrong. Even I gave my wife the option if she wanted me to set her free, but she didn’t and was crying so much. It was a very emotional time for everybody, but then, Alhamdu’lillah, the deportation was suspended for another week. It was [then] completely stopped and I was put under the new drama, SIAC.

Cageprisoners: You were in HMP Long Lartin. Could you tell us about the regime there?

Faraj Hassan Alsaadi: The Home Office were planning to put the detainees in Long Lartin prison since 2002, when the brothers were detained under the terrorism laws, but the brothers refused to move to this prison; they wanted only their freedom. After these new memorandums were signed with Algeria, Jordan and Libya, they re-rearrested them and put them in Long Lartin. The wing we were in was segregated from all other wings, as they believed we would brainwash the other Muslims in prison. Every one of us had been classified as Category “A” to make it hard for us to make phone calls and visits. As for me, to get my brother named cleared for visiting took me one year.

Cageprisoners: In October 2006, Britain signed a Memorandum of Understanding with your home country Libya, to allow the return of refugees with a guarantee from the government that they will not be harmed. What is your opinion of these agreements?

Faraj Hassan Alsaadi: For this country to sign this Memorandum of Understanding with Libya that I would not be harmed means Libya practice[s] torture against its people, otherwise why would a Memorandum be needed?  By seeking this so called Memorandum of Understanding, the UK acknowledges that Libya does carry out torture. You can go and search yourself in the Human website and read about the prisoners in Libya. More than 1,200 Muslim brothers were shot in the prison of Abu Salim in Tripoli by the same person who signed this memorandum! And they wanted me to be in the same prison where the blood of those innocent Muslims is still not dry yet. Britain simply forgot who Gaddafi is — the dictator who ordered to kill more than 258 people by bombing the Pan-Am aeroplane in Lockerbie in Scotland, and his bad reputation is well known to everyone in this country.

The funny thing is, the European who signed this Memorandum was himself expelled from Britain to Libya in the past decade as he was thought to be a threat to the national security for the UK, and he is currently wanted by the French authorities for bombing the French plane in the desert of Niger, which killed 140 passengers on board at the time. What I am trying to say is this so-called Memorandum was being dealt by a very big mafia in Libya, by people who themselves should be in prison for the crimes they have committed against humanity. By signing this so-called Memorandum of Understanding, the UK government was willing to sign our life away to these people who would not even ensure the rights of animals let alone human beings. It makes a mockery of the so-called civilised democracy and human rights the UK professes to uphold, and uses as an excuse to invade countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, claiming to be bring democracy and human rights to these countries and removing dictatorship, when the UK itself deals with these very dictators as and when it suits it. The irony is how the UK government is courting Libya now, and in particular Gaddafi, when only less then twenty years ago Libya was denounced by the West as the country which harboured terrorists and Gaddafi was reviled as a enemy of the West in the same way Osama Bin Laden is today.

Most recently Tony Blair himself visited Libya and announced Gaddafi as the West’s ally against terrorism and resumed diplomatic relations with Libya! This is the same way the USA and UK courted and allied itself with Iraq in the 1980s when Saddam Hussein was murdering innocent people and any political opponents using weapons supplied by the UK, and the UK government now uses those same crimes against Saddam Hussein to invade Iraq, claiming it had a moral obligation to the world and the Iraqi people to remove a dictator! The double standards and the blatant hypocrisy of the UK government towards countries which torture is clear for everyone to see, and the UK government wonders why Muslims feel angry?

Cageprisoners: What were your concerns about being deported to Libya?

Faraj Hassan Alsaadi: Libya is [the] country where I was born and brought up. I love my country and hope to be around my mother and family there. Britain is not my place if I was not compelled, but because Libya is ruled by [a] dictatorial and tyrannical regime I would receive the death penalty. I would be treated very badly as soon as I reach there, as I am an Islamic opponent to the Gaddafi regime and also because of the charges against me in Italy. Libya also accused me of being affiliated with the Libyan Islamic [Fighting] Group who want overthrow the regime of Gaddafi. I deny this accusation. However, once an accusation is made, you can never clear your name and just live in fear of when Gaddafi’s secret police will arrest you and throw you into torture prisons. The charge of supporting any group which wants to overthrow the government in Libya is very serious and the punishment is the death penalty.

Cageprisoners: How many brothers are held with you in HMP Long Lartin?

Faraj Hassan Alsaadi: We were all 11 brothers — 5 Libyans, 2 Jordanians, and 4 Algerians. All these brothers are being detained without any charges and facing deportation to their countries.

Cageprisoners: How do you do you feel about the response of the Muslim community to your case and to other brothers like yourself?

Faraj Hassan Alsaadi: There are a few Muslim families that supported us and our families outside, may Allah reward them for their support and help. But I think many Muslims outside do not care about us, they never come forward even in the peaceful demonstration. It is a shame when you see non-Muslims come forward and supporting us instead of the ones who call themselves “brother’” and “sister’,” but do not know the meaning of words. As for [the] so-called MCB [Muslim Council of Britain], I would like to hear their voice for once. They only participated and appealed for the releases of hostages in Iraq but they do not regard us as hostages by the new crusader Tony Blair. They never sent us a letter of visited us or asked Blair about us in the House of Parliament. The thing that astonished me was that, one day in Belmarsh, I refused to be strip searched as it was against my religion. Officers showed me a fatwa signed by the Muslim Council of Britain saying that it is permissible for the staff to strip search us. So this is how we get supported in prison by the Muslim Council of Britain.

Cageprisoners: What support have you received from the Muslim and non-Muslim community in Britain? And could you tell us of the pros and cons of the letter writing campaigns for Muslim prisoners?

Faraj Hassan Alsaadi: I received a few letters from people, Muslims and non-Muslims. It was very nice for our souls and we really thank them for that. I do also believe that many other letters were sent, but the prison security confiscated them as they normally do, to stop us from being in contact with the outside world. So if anyone wrote to us and did not get a response, he or she must forgive us, as we always responded to people. They also must understand that one of the main reasons letters get confiscated is because some of the writers do not write their names and addresses at the back of the envelope, so they must always write them.

Cageprisoners: Finally, do you have a message for our readers, the British public and the Muslim community in Britain?

Faraj Hassan Alsaadi: I just want you to keep praying for all of the prisoners around the world. Take care of yourselves and stick to your religion and the Truth. Do not fear no one but Allah the Almighty and realise that this is only the beginning of the wave, so if it did not reach you, it will reach your children if the new Prime Minister is going to be like Tony Blair.

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) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in July 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, currently on tour in the UK, and available on DVD here), and my definitive Guantánamo habeas list, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

For other articles dealing with Belmarsh, control orders, deportation bail, deportations and extraditions (over the last year), see Letting go of control orders (for the Guardian, September 2009), Another Blow To Britain’s Crumbling Control Order Regime (September 2009), UK Judge Approves Use of Secret Evidence in Guantánamo Case (November 2009), Calling Time On The Use Of Secret Evidence In The UK (December 2009), Compensation for control orders is a distraction (for the Guardian, January 2010), Control Orders Take Another Blow: Libyan Cartoonist Freed (Detainee DD) (January 2010), Control Orders: Solicitors’ Evidence before the Joint Committee on Human Rights, February 3, 2010 and Control Orders: Special Advocates’ Evidence before the Joint Committee on Human Rights, February 3, 2010 (both February 2010), Will Parliament Rid Us of the Cruel and Unjust Control Order Regime? (February 2010), Don’t renew control orders, CAMPACC, JUSTICE and the Joint Committee on Human Rights tell MPs (February 2010), Fahad Hashmi and Terrorist Hysteria in US Courts (April 2010), 98 MPs Who Supported Human Rights While Countering Terrorism (May 2010), UK Terror Ruling Provides Urgent Test for New Government (May 2010), An uncivilized society (in the Guardian), New letter to MPs asking them to oppose the use of secret evidence in UK courts, and to support the return from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer (May 2010), Torture Complicity Under the Spotlight in Europe (Part One): The UK (July 2010), Fighting Ghosts: An Interview with Husein Al-Samamara (July 2010), Ruling sends message on control orders (for the Guardian, July 2010), UK Judges Endorse Double Standards on Terror Deportations (August 2010).

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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 and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
Email Andy Worthington

CD: Love and War

The Four Fathers on Bandcamp

The Guantánamo Files book cover

The Guantánamo Files

The Battle of the Beanfield book cover

The Battle of the Beanfield

Stonehenge: Celebration & Subversion book cover

Stonehenge: Celebration & Subversion

Outside The Law DVD cover

Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo


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The State of London

The State of London. 16 photos of London

Andy's Flickr photos



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Afghans in Guantanamo Al-Qaeda Andy Worthington British prisoners Center for Constitutional Rights CIA torture prisons Close Guantanamo Donald Trump Four Fathers Guantanamo Housing crisis Hunger strikes London Military Commission NHS NHS privatisation Periodic Review Boards Photos President Obama Reprieve Shaker Aamer The Four Fathers Torture UK austerity UK protest US courts Video We Stand With Shaker WikiLeaks Yemenis in Guantanamo