Mother appeals for son held in Camp Delta to be returned to Britain for fair trial

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The Independent Online

The mother of one of the Britons being held as a suspected terrorist by the Americans in Guantanamo Bay appealed to the Government yesterday for her son to be tried in Britain.

Zumrati Juma said she had not heard from Feroz Abbasi, 23, for five months or seen him for two years and feared for his well-being in Camp Delta, the sparse detention camp in Cuba where 650 people, including nine British citizens, are being held as "unlawful combatants".

The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith QC, announced last week he had won an assurance that none of the Britons would face the death penalty when they finally appeared before the special military tribunals.

But Mrs Juma, a nurse from Croydon in south London, said her son could not receive a fair trial under American control.

Speaking at her first public appearance for 18 months, she said: "I'm taking this opportunity to plead personally with the Attorney General to negotiate with the Americans for the return of Feroz to this country to be tried here so I can have access to him. I don't think the military commission is going to be a fair trial."

The briefing, held at the Law Society in London with lawyers representing the families of Mr Abbasi and another British detainee, Moazzam Begg, 35, a father-of-four from Birmingham, was told that the British Muslim lawyer appointed by Mr Abbasi would not be able to represent his client on American territory because he was not a US citizen. Defence lawyers for the military tribunals will be appointed by American officials.

The Law Society, the professional body for solicitors, called for allBritons to be tried in an American civil court or be returned to face a British jury. Peter Williamson, the society's president, said: "It is necessary to establish individual culpability and that is unlikely to happen unless the defendants are tried in accordance with internationally accepted standards for a fair trial."

Amzat Begg, the father of Moazzam Begg, who was arrested by the CIA in Pakistan before being transferred to Bagram air base in Afghanistan and to Cuba, asked how he could be classified as a "combatant" when he had been arrested in Islamabad. He said: "What is this justice? My son was captured in his house and sent to Afghanistan and spent a year there subject to a lot of tortures ... He should be tried here, where he belongs."

The press conference was told that in setting up Camp Delta, the US government had violated international legal accords. Gareth Pierce, the solicitor for Mr Begg, said: "They have torn up human rights, they have torn international law, they have torn up history."