Moazzam Begg reflects on his recent investigation trip to Syria to uncover the extent of British and American co-operation in rendition and torture with the Assad regime.
Some had heard the screams of Yusra al-Hussein – and other women – wife of Jihad Diyab, a Syrian who is still in Guantanamo. Al-Hussein was abused in incommunicado detention for a year simply for contacting human rights groups about her husband. One man, simply known as Noor al-Deen was just a teenager at the time of his capture in Pakistan and subsequent rendition by the CIA to Morocco and Syria.
All the prisoners were familiar with the horrifying cases of Maher Arar, Abdullah Almalki, Mohammed Hayder Zammar, Mustafa Setmariam Nasser, Saïd Arif and several others who had been rendered with the complicity of countries like the US, Canada, UK, France, Sweden, Germany and Denmark - all of whom claim to be human rights defenders and are signatories of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The people I spoke to understood, from all they had witnessed, that some people lose their rights of protection from abuse the moment they are labelled ‘Islamist’ – whether by Middle Eastern despots or Western champions of freedom.