Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|UK terror detentions 'barbaric'|
|01/19/02 at 20:30:55|
Note how the Muslim spokesman says that the accuseds' dietary and religious requirements should be respected above all. And so whether they are innocent or not is something lower down the list??
UK terror detentions 'barbaric'
MPs attack 'concrete coffins' in prison
Terrorism crisis - Observer special
Observer Liberty Watch campaign
Martin Bright, Jason Burke and Burhan Wazir
Sunday January 20, 2002
British terror suspects are being held in conditions condemned as barbaric by the Home Office's own medical experts and described by lawyers who have visited them as 'concrete coffins'.
Opposition politicians last night called for an immediate investigation into conditions in Belmarsh high-security prison in south-east London, where seven Islamist suspects have been held without charge since their arrest last month.
Claims that the detainees - not convicted of any offence - have been denied access to lawyers and had their basic human rights violated come as police and MI5 were drawing up plans for fresh arrests.
The Belmarsh detainees are locked up for 22 hours a day and do not see daylight. On detention they were given no access to lawyers or to their families, while being given five days to appeal against their internment.
They are unable to speak to their families in Arabic without the presence of an approved translator who visits once a week. In some cases, clearance for phone calls to lawyers was approved only last week.
Complaints lodged with the Home Secretary have received no response. These include concerns about men being subjected to body searches by women prison officers, unacceptable to Muslims. They have also been denied prayer facilities except for 15 minutes on a Friday without an imam.
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman Norman Baker said: 'These are very serious allegations that require immediate investigation. If true, it is shameful that the British Government has allowed these men to be treated in this way, especially when they have committed no crime. Both the British and US governments have lost the moral high ground.'
In 1996 the Government's former chief medical officer, Sir Donald Acheson, made a stinging internal report to the Prison Service, concluding that conditions in special security units such as those at Belmarsh could contribute to mental illness. Amnesty International said later that lack of adequate daylight, exercise, medical treatment and educational facilities led to a swift deterioration of mental and physical health.
The claims about Belmarsh will cause serious embarrassment to the Government, under growing pressure to oppose the American treatment of Taliban and al- Qaeda prisoners held in Cuba.
This week Amnesty International will meet lawyers representing men detained in Britain under the new legisla tion. 'We want to ensure they are held in humane conditions and that everything is all right,' a spokesman said.
Gareth Peirce, who represents several detainees, told The Observer: 'These men have been buried alive in concrete coffins and have been told the legislation provides for their detention for life without trial.'
Inayat Bunglawala, of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: 'The war on terrorism was meant to be a war on behalf of civilised values. It is crucial that the values we hold dear are upheld. Otherwise this military victory will be undermined by a moral defeat. We are concerned for the treatment of Muslim prisoners in Belmarsh. Their dietary and their religious requirements should be respected above all.'
Roger Bingham of the civil rights organisation Liberty said: 'These reports would be cause for concern if someone had been convicted of a serious crime, but these people haven't even been charged. The whole policy of internment offends the core principles of British justice.'
The Home Office said yesterday: 'All detainees enjoy the same rights as any other category A prisoner. They have the same access to legal representation, their families and their fellow prisoners.'
Police investigating Islamic activists in Britain are worried about alienating the Muslim community in Britain, but believe intelligence gained from al-Qaeda suspects picked up in Europe, Afghanistan and the Far East will provide new lines of investigation in Britain.
One Whitehall source told The Observer: 'If MI5 believes people are a threat to national security, we will have them arrested. We asked the Home Secretary for these new anti-terrorist powers. Now we have them, we are going to use them.'
· Additional reporting by Nick Pelham
|Re: UK terror detentions 'barbaric'|
|01/20/02 at 02:32:39|
|Since they haven't been convicted of anything, they're just detainees, perhaps the spokesmen meant that they should be treated as though they were innocent(as much as possible) until they are proven guilty, though he could have been clearer on the point.|
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