In the media
Prisoners freed a year ago struggle to rebuild their lives
By Robert Verkaik, Legal Affairs Correspondent
12 January 2005
It has been almost a year since five other Britons detained in
Guantanamo Bay won their release. But there is little sign that
any of them have been able to rebuild their lives.
Shafiq Rasul, 27, Asif Iqbal, 22 and Ruhul Ahmed, 22, all from
Tipton, West Midlands; Jamal al-Harith, 37, from Manchester, and
Tarek Dergoul, 26, from London, have all returned to their communities.
But they remain haunted by their experiences and, 10 months on,
still require counselling to help come to terms with what lawyers
agree was exposure to prolonged "inhumane and degrading treatment".
Under surveillance from the security services and subject to ever-present
media attention, they struggle to put their experiences behind them.
Mr Dergoul lost an arm and suffers serious mental illness.
The Tipton three, who spent the first few weeks of their new-found
freedom in safe houses on the south coast, are now reunited with
their families. Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, the leader of the British
Muslim Parliament, who is in regular contact with the Tipton men,
said: "Their lives are shattered and they are still traumatised
after what happened to them. You simply have to ask yourself how
you would cope if you were put in their position."
In their compensation claim against the US government, four of
the former detainees complain they were "repeatedly struck
with rifle buts, punched, kicked and slapped. They were short-shackled
in painful stress positions for may hours ….. causing deep
flesh wounds and permanent scarring."
The lawsuit adds: "The plaintiffs were also threatened with
unmuzzled dogs, forced to strip naked, subjected to repeated forced
body-cavity searches, intentionally subjected to extremes of heat
and cold for the purpose of causing suffering …."
They have also had to contend with unsubstantiated accusations
that, since their release, they have been in trouble.
It is perhaps unsurprising that the most difficult test facing
the former Camp X-Ray inmates is coming to terms with the many authority
figures that they encounter in their post-Guantanamo lives.
Robert Lizar, the lawyer who is representing Mr Harith, the 37-year-old
father-of-three released on 9 March 2004, says that his client "has
found it extremely hard to pick up the pieces of his life".
He adds: "He has spent years in prison under conditions which
at times have amounted to torture and have often been degrading
and inhumane treatment. For all this time his life was controlled
by someone else."
Mr Harith was the first to be released without charge from Paddington
Green police station after he was flown back to Britain last year.
He has still not found full-time paid employment.
In December he told a committee of the Council of Europe that he
was concerned about the long-term psychological effects of his forced
detention. "I was never given any reason or explanation for
my detention or any apology about any of the things that were done
to me," he told the committee. "I have been left with
intermittent significant pain in my knees which I believe arises
from being repeatedly forced on to my knees and pressed downwards
by guards during various other processes during my detention. These
events happened almost every day. I am also suffering continuing
pain in my right elbow. I am also concerned about the long-term
Shariah Queries Pose Challenge
Gaza and the radicalisation of British Muslims
Law to protect the young must cover madrassas as well
This is no way to fight terror
A marriage of convenience will not do
Frustrated love and forced marriage
Changing the face of Muslim family life
New model Muslim marriage contract ‘revolutionary’ for UK women
British women who paid dearly for not registering their marriages
New Sharia law marriage contract gives Muslim women rights
Is this the beginning of a new European Islam?
Compulsory lessons urged on forced marriage and 'honour' violence
Law and principle are lost in the crazy politics of 42 days
A shaming victory - Brown 42 days
Islam's holiest city set for 130-skyscraper redevelopment
No more mosques, says senior Synod member
Muslim reformer's 'heresy': The Islamic state is a dead end
Intellectuals condemn fatwa against writers
Met 'let down' victim killed by her family
Divisions In Our World Are Not
The Result Of Religion
Home secretary accused of putting off vote on terrorism bill
Muslim leader says families must help catch honour killers
Blasphemy caused by cuddly animals
Mistake to curb liberties in response to 7/7, says minister
Asim Siddiqui: Beyond Hizb ut-Tahrir
Naomi Klein: Why failure is the new face of success
Naomi Klein: The erasing of Iraq
Naomi Klein: The age of disaster capitalism
Special units to crack down on honour killing
Can Culture Be Bought In the Gulf?
Luxury timeshares on offer at Islam's holiest pilgrimage site
The shortest route to peace… is through Jerusalem
Pope and Islam - Muhammad's Sword
Pope and Islam -
Roots of rationality
Removal of men from holiday flight condemned
How Islam got political: Founding fathers
MPs fear police terror raid will hit community relations
Muslims question terror raid tactics
A pantomime in Forest Gate
Sudan’s Turabi - Muslim women can marry Christian or Jew
Faith leaders unite to champion supportive care for terminally ill
Warning on Muslim schools 'abuse'
Government urged to introduce registration scheme for religious Islamic schools
Call for national register of mosque schools
A call to protect Madrasa-goers from abuse
Abuse widespread in Islamic schools, says Muslim leader
Madrassa children ‘at risk of abuse’
Islamic schools in denial about child abuse
Muslim rally organisers tell extremists to stay away
Calls to scrap holocaust day slammed
The destruction of Mecca: Saudi hardliners
are wiping out their own heritage
Britain to rebrand ethnic minorities
Live chat with the leader of the Muslim
Parliament in Britain
Religious leaders braced for more faith-hate
Police investigate 'backlash' attacks
Fanatics realise worst fears of Muslims
Muslims, do not be fooled by this law
Prisoners freed a year ago struggle
to rebuild their lives
Muslim leaders consult other faiths
for advice on stamping out abuse
Could the tsunami disaster be a turning
point for the world?
Muslim men use law loophole to get a harem
Novice imams must be vetted, Muslim leaders
End these detentions
Muslim leaders blame Blair’s
war on Iraq for growing alienation
End this internment now
Under siege on all sides, Muslims plead
Islamic weddings leave women unprotected
Muslim leaders attack extremists' claims
Talking Point Forum interview with
Focus on forced Asian marriages
British High Court judge condemns forced
Islam and the voice of reason
Passionate debate on a landmark
in race relations
Leave us Muslims out of the anti-terror