Britons in US camp due back in days

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The last four British men held in Guantanamo Bay are expected to arrive back in Britain on Tuesday, after nearly three years of imprisonment without trial at the US military base.

The last four British men held in Guantanamo Bay are expected to arrive back in Britain on Tuesday, after nearly three years of imprisonment without trial at the US military base.

The four, Moazzam Begg, Feroz Abbasi, Richard Belmar and Martin Mubanga, are expected to fly into RAF Northolt, west London, on Tuesday night, where they will be immediately taken into custody by police and anti-terrorism officers for questioning.

The Britons - seized by the US as alleged supporters of the al-Qa'ida terrorist network and the Taliban - are then expected to be taken by their lawyers to secret "safe houses" to recuperate and be reunited with their families. That could happen as soon as Tuesday night or early on Wednesday.

Azmat Begg, the father of Moazzam Begg, 36, from Sparkbrook, Birmingham, said his son's wife and children were "excited but apprehensive" about his release. The youngest children no longer remember their father as it isnearly four years since he left Britain to set up a school in Afghanistan, he said.

Their greatest concern was for his mental and physical condition. Like Mr Abbasi, 23, from Croydon, south London, Moazzam Begg spent more than two years in solitary confinement, mostly in a windowless cell, after being seized by the CIA in Pakistan.

Lawyers for all four men have repeatedly warned they had grave concerns about their health, and are now expected to press the Government to pay for expert hostage counselling and psychiatric help if necessary.

"The family are quite happy, and in a good mood, but they're all worried about his mental health," Mr Begg added.

Political pressure is now expected to mount on the Government to secure the release of another five men in Guantanamo, the so-called "forgotten five", who all have the right to reside permanently in Britain but hold foreign nationality.