Muslim Parliament logo
Muslim Parliament
The Muslim Parliament of Great Britain
Links Links go to homepage

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 psychological effects."




Media archive

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 attacks

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 of ‘wives’

Novice imams must be vetted, Muslim leaders say

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 for peace

Islamic weddings leave women unprotected

Muslim leaders attack extremists' claims

Talking Point Forum interview with Dr Siddiqui

Focus on forced Asian marriages

British High Court judge condemns forced Asian marriages

Islam and the voice of reason

Passionate debate on a landmark in race relations

Leave us Muslims out of the anti-terror laws