My nightmare of torture and assault, by Briton held in Guantanamo

One of the four Britons freed from Guantanamo Bay last week has alleged being tortured, nearly suffocated and repeatedly assaulted in American detention, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

One of the four Britons freed from Guantanamo Bay last week has alleged being tortured, nearly suffocated and repeatedly assaulted in American detention, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

In the first detailed account to emerge since their release, Moazzam Begg, 35, from Birmingham, has accused his US captors of threatening his family, killing fellow detainees, and interrogating him more than 250 times. His 25-page testimony was written in solitary confinement at Guantanamo Bay last year for an American tribunal hearing.

It details, for the first time, why he visited Islamist training camps in Afghanistan, and describes the night in 2002 when he was captured in Pakistan by US agents.

Mr Begg claims that while he was held by the Americans at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan in 2002, he was "dragged into an isolation room, my hands shackled from behind to my ankles, and a suffocating hood placed over my head. I was struck about the head several times, then left in that manner on the floor for several hours, only to be interrogated again."

Mr Begg, who used to run an Islamic bookshop in Birmingham, is recuperating in a safe house with his family after arriving back in the UK on an RAF jet last Tuesday with fellow detainees Feroz Abbasi, 24, Richard Belmar, 25, and Martin Mubanga, 32, all from London. All four men were held by anti-terrorism police for questioning for nearly 24 hours before being released without charge.

However, speculation is increasing that the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, will seek court orders to place the men under strict controls under new emergency anti-terrorism powers that he is now seeking. Mr Clarke said last week he wants the power to put suspected terrorists and their immediate families under house arrest, or to impose very strict bail-style controls on their movements and behaviour.

The Government insists these powers are chiefly in response to the ruling last month by nine Law Lords that the jailing of 11 foreign men without trial, including the radical Islamic cleric Abu Qatada, was illegal. Sources in the US administration suggested that the new measures were part of the guarantees given by Britain before the four detainees were leased from Guantanamo Bay. The Pentagon insisted last week that the four continue to pose a "significant threat", and security sources in Britain are making similar claims about the 11 men detained in Belmarsh prison and other jails.

Lawyers for the four ex-Guantanamo detainees now suspect that they all face court orders that could force them to live under strict bail conditions, including restrictions on their movements and use of computers, and the possible surrender of their passports.

Last night, Gareth Peirce, the lawyer for Mr Begg and Mr Belmar, said: "It's pretty obvious that the timing of their release with Mr Clarke's announcement is not coincidental. It's a complete police state if all these powers come in."

In his testimony, Mr Begg alleges that he was "coerced" into signing a false confession at Guantanamo Bay on 13 February 2003 by the same US interrogators who had allegedly tortured him at Bagram airbase. He had signed the confession, which claimed that he was a member of al-Qa'ida, with "memories fresh [with] the threats of summary trials, life imprisonment and execution". He added: "They reiterated the previous threats."

In further passages of his diary, Mr Begg alleges that he saw US interrogators using a series of illegal practices to extract confessions from detainees. At Bagram airbase in Afghanistan, he claims, interrogators used "sleep deprivation; racial and religious taunts; being chained to a door for hours - with a suffocating plastic sandbag as a hood; arm twisting and forced bowing; and several beatings."

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm that there was a 'minor disturbance'

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
News
i100
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album